The effect of octreotide treatment on somatic and psychological symptoms of acromegaly.

OBJECTIVES: Acromegaly is a chronic disease caused by excessive growth hormone secretion resulting in bone and soft tissue overgrowth. Body image changes as well as systemic complications may considerably influence patients' psychological health and disturb everyday activities. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of octreotide treatment on somatic and psychological symptoms of acromegaly, and thus on patients' quality of life.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted on 15 patients with acromegaly. The average duration of octreotide therapy was 5.6 years (1-10 years). The respondents created a list of subjective signs and symptoms of acromegaly before treatment and reported changes observed during therapy. The psychological examination was performed with appropriate test scales assessed patients' self-efficacy, emotional control, psychological gender and their life satisfaction.

RESULTS: The most important changes observed during octreotide therapy were associated with head and joint pain relief and reduction of physical limitations. The patients also noticed the improvement of cognitive functions and interpersonal relations. The study revealed average life satisfaction in the group. The patients on the one hand demonstrated high self-efficacy and on the other hand - intensive repression of emotions. The undifferentiated sex-role schema dominated in group.

CONCLUSIONS: The study proved a significance of octreotide therapy in acromegalic patients' life. In spite of chronic disease, all the respondents reported good quality of life (average life satisfaction). Additionally, their high self-efficacy helps to cope with the disease. Nevertheless, undifferentiated sex role schema in the study group suggests lack of behavioral flexibility and high emotional repression predicts negative somatic consequences.

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