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Cushing's Awareness Challenge - Day 10

Medications to treat Cushing's is a newly expanding option.  When I was diagnosed with Cushing's, only about 7 years ago, these new medications were barely in trial phases.

I only tried a couple medications when I had Cushing's.  I tried to get into a clinical trial of mifepristone but was denied because my blood glucose was not high enough.  I didn't have many options outside of surgery or radiation.

These days, the medication options are endless.  Patients can be on medications from the moment they are diagnosed.  For patients with a failed first surgery, this is a great option to get some relief from symptoms before opting for another surgery.

One of the first medications I tried was cabergoline.  Typically, it is used for patients with prolactinomas (another kind of pituitary tumor), to help lower prolactin levels.  It has shown some success in Cushing's patients, but not to the same level.   I took this for about 3 months, had little risk, and I had no major side effects. My main complaint was nausea, and this was easily treated, and went away after a few weeks of taking the medication. I did not experience any improvement while on it.

Once we determined cabergoline wasn't working for me, I tried ketoconazole.  This is a commonly prescribed anti-fungal, which benefits Cushing's patients by inhibiting the cortisol response to ACTH.  Cushing's patients take this in pill form.  Other forms commonly used for fungal infections are shampoo and cream.

Today, the medication options are comparatively endless.  Most of these are now out of clinical trials and are commonly used, some are still in trial stages.

This article from the Cushing's Support and Research Foundation explains the medications available.

What medications did you take for Cushing's?  Did they work for you?


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