Treatment for Cushing’s syndrome depends on the reason for the extra cortisol in the body.1,2
If Cushing’s syndrome is caused by glucocorticoid medicine taken to treat another disorder, your health care provider will slowly and carefully decrease your dose and give you another medication so that your body can go back to making its own cortisol. However, if you need to continue taking the glucocorticoid, your health care provider will closely monitor you and treat symptoms that might develop, such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, bone thinning, or osteoporosis (pronounced os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis).
If the body is making too much cortisol because of a tumor, treatments may include medication, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Treatments will differ based on where the tumor is located.
The most common treatments for pituitary tumors are:
To find out more about pituitary tumor treatments, visit the National Cancer Institute’s page on pituitary tumors.
If the tumor is in one of your two adrenal glands, your doctor may attempt to remove it surgically. Often the whole gland is removed. Following surgery, the doctor may prescribe glucocorticoid replacement treatment for 9 to 12 months until the other adrenal gland takes on the functions of the removed gland.
If the tumor cannot be removed, medications can be used to help block the release of cortisol. Radiation therapy usually does not work for cancerous adrenal tumors and is not appropriate for noncancerous tumors.
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