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Who reported the first use of bromocriptine in humans for the treatment of hyperprolactinemia?

Published online 31 May, 2014 in Pituitary, Editor Mark E. Molitch (Springer Science & Business Media, New York) Title “We stand Upon the Shoulders of Giants” (see page 12)

PM LutterbeckPeter Lutterbeck, later a neurologist, was the first to give bromocriptine to humans with hyperprolactinemia. He wrote about this in an interesting commentary. “As a your physician … at Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, he learned of newly developed ergot alkaloids with anti-fertility properties … One such compound, CB-154 (later named bromocriptine), was found to have an anti-prolactin effects in animals … He proposed studying its clinical effect in certain prolactin- and dopamine-related conditions, particularly galactorrhea and Parkinson’s disease. His superiors rejected the idea as a long shot, irrelevant to the goal of creating new anti-fertility drugs, and transferred him to another division of the company. He kept hold of the idea till an encounter with a gynecologist treating patients with galactorrhea gave him an adequate patient group for a small-scale clinical trial. First, drug safety was tested semi-secretly on one person: the author himself. As there was no ill effect, he obtained informed consent from three patients with severe galactorrhea and gave them CB-154, with good results in all three. “Dr. Besser, del Pozo and Flückiger were mentioned above. Dr. Alan McNeilly is a reproductive endocrinologist who has done work on the effects of prolactin on the ovary.

Lutterbeck PM, Pryor JS, Varga I, Venner R. Treatment of non-puerperal galactorrhea with ergot alkaloid. BMJ 1971;3:228. Varga I, Lutterbeck PM, Pryor JS, Venner R, Erb H. Suppression of puerperal lactation with an ergot alkaloid: a double-blind study, BMJ 1972;2:745

p.s. Dr. Lutterbeck was considered one of the unsung heroes in Neuroendocrinology of the last Century.

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