Since the radioimmunoassay for serum prolactin became available eight years ago, prolactin has become a hormone of considerable clinical interest. An elevated serum prolactin concentration is the most frequent hormone marker for pituitary tumors. Secreted in excess, prolactin causes dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the gonads, and the adrenal cortex. In women, menstrual disturbances, galactorrhea, infertility, and hirsutism result. Impotence, oligospermia, and decreased libido are common in men. These metabolic abnormalities attributed to prolactin excess are corrected when prolactin concentrations are lowered by either medical or surgical therapy. The availability of effective therapy mandates early recognition and proper management of the patient with hyperprolactinemia.
(Arch Intern Med 139:1415-1419, 1979)