Somatostatin Analogs are a synthetic (man-made) version of the natural somatostatin that occurs naturally in the human body. Somatostatin inhibits the production of various hormones and transmitters such as insulin, growth hormone, serotonin, gut hormones, etc. Somatostatin Analogs are used in the treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), acromegaly, carcinoid syndrome, thyrotropinomas, Cushing’s disease, and various endocrinological disorders. These are also indicated in cirrhotic patients with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage caused by gastroesophageal varices.
Alternate Name of Somatostatin Analogs
Synthetic growth hormone-inhibiting hormone
Body Location of of Somatostatin Analogs
Neuroendocrine tumors, endocrine glands, etc.
How Somatostatin Analogs is Performed?
Depending upon the type of the tumor or endocrine disorder, you could be given somatostatin analogs such as Octreotide, Lanreotide, Pasireotide, etc. Octreotide is a somatostatin analog that could be given by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection in the treatment of various endocrine disorders. It is also available as an oral formulation.
Lanreotide and pasireotide are advanced somatostatin analogs that are also given either by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection.
The injection is usually given every 4 weeks to maintain the blood concentration of these somatostatin analogs. In case the desired results are not achieved, the dose could be increased at the discretion of your doctor.
Preparation for Somatostatin Analogs
Before undergoing treatment with somatostatin analogs, your doctor needs to assess the stage of the disease and the need for somatostatin analogs treatment.
Your doctor might recommend certain blood tests and imaging tests such as Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) to visualize tumors that express the somatostatin receptors. This will help the doctor assess your suitability for receiving the somatostatin analogs.
In addition, the uptake of radiolabelled somatostatin analogs could also be assessed by the doctor if the doctor plans for targeted radiotherapy.
Inform your doctor about all your medications and you could be asked to discontinue some of the medications to avoid any complications.
Subcutaneous or intramuscular Injection
Follow-up for Somatostatin Analogs
Usually, treatment of neuroendocrine tumors could be effectively managed by the use of somatostatin analogs and they are well tolerated by the majority of people, although a few common side effects are acceptable. However, in a few people, the management of neuroendocrine tumors could be difficult and frequent assessments or additional interventions could be required. You should complete your follow-ups as per the schedule to ensure effective management of your treatment therapy and assessment of progress.
In case of long-term therapy with somatostatin analogs, get a gallbladder scan every 6-12 months to keep a check on the growth of gallbladder stones. Somatostatin analogs can make gallbladder stones. If you experience any serious side effects that start to bother you, seek immediate medical care.
Risks of Somatostatin Analogs
Somatostatin analogs being similar to natural somatostatin are associated with fewer side effects and most of these are self-limiting. However, the following side effects or risks are associated with somatostatin analogs treatment:
Fatigue or tiredness
Injection site pain
Injection site swelling
Injection site redness
Changes in the bowel movement
A feeling of being sick
Changes in blood glucose levels
Excessive use can lead to gallstones
Recovery of Somatostatin Analogs
Depending on the type of endocrine disorder, location of the tumor, and the somatostatin analog used, you could be given an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. The injections are given on an outpatient basis and there are rare chances of any major side effects. Somatostatin analogs with oral formulations have better acceptability.
Although injection site reactions such as pain, swelling, redness, etc. could occur and most of these resolve within a few days and do not require any medical care. However, if any of these symptoms continue to bother you or get worsen, you should seek medical attention and might require additional interventions.