Introduction: Acromegalic patients (AP) often report fatigue and chronic subjective complaints. We aimed to investigate in more detail these aspects in AP, dependent on disease activity, age, gender, medication and pituitary insufficiency (PI).
Patients/methods: Cross sectional, 124 patients (M/W 51/73, age 58.3±14.7 years, 49/75active/controlled disease). The patients completed the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and the Giessen Subjective Complaints List (GBB-24), after written informed consent. Age, gender, IGF-1 concentrations, comorbidities, treatment modalities and PI were documented.
Results: The MFI-20 inventory showed higher age- and gender-specific values on all fatigue subscales compared to controls (general and mental fatigue, decreased motivation and decreased activity), except physical fatigue, which was obviously higher only in patients under 60 years of age. No differences were observed between patients dependent on disease activity, age, gender and PI. The GBB inventory showed more gastric, joint and general complaints in patients with a disease duration >10 years. In this group, patients were older (62.2±13.6 vs. 53.3±14.4 years); however, 14/67 had an active disease compared to 35/57 patients with a disease duration ≤ 10 years (P<0.001). Patients with PI exhibited more exhaustion (P=0.01), gastric (P=0.005), joint (P=0.02) and general complaints (P=0.006) compared to patients without PI. Patients who needed chronic medication for disease control had higher scores for exhaustion than patients without medication (P=0.03). Interestingly, there were no significant differences between patients with active and controlled disease or between patients with one or more PIs. Even if complaint scores were higher in patients after more than one pituitary surgical intervention or after sellar radiotherapy, the differences did not reach significance.
Conclusions: AP display more fatigue than healthy controls. Chronic subjective complaints are more pronounced in patients with a disease duration >10 years, PI and medication for disease control, irrespective of the hormonal activity status.