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Treatment of Hyperparathyroidism
It is sometimes difficult to decide whether hyperparathyroidism in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is severe enough to need treatment, especially in a person who has no symptoms. The usual treatment is an operation to remove the three largest parathyroid glands and all but a small part of the fourth. After parathyroid surgery, regular testing of blood calcium should continue, since the small piece of remaining parathyroid tissue can grow larger and cause recurrent hyperparathyroidism. People whose parathyroid glands have been completely removed by surgery must take daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D to prevent hypocalcemia (low blood calcium).
Treatment of Gastrinomas
The gastrinomas associated with MEN1 are difficult to cure by surgery, because it is difficult to find the multiple small gastrinomas in the pancreas and small intestine. In the past, the standard treatment for gastrinomas was the surgical removal of the entire stomach to prevent acid production. The mainstay of treatment is now very powerful medicines that block stomach acid release, called acid pump inhibitors. Taken by mouth, these have proven effective in controlling the complications from high gastrin in most cases of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Treatment of Prolactinomas
Some prolactinomas are small, and treatment may not be needed. If treatment is needed, a very effective type of medicine known as a dopamine agonist can lower the production of prolactin and shrink the prolactinoma. Occasionally, prolactinomas do not respond well to this medication. In such cases, surgery, radiation, or both may be needed.