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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Fibrocystic Breast Disease

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Parlodel - Fibrocystic Breast Disease Treatment.
Question: I have been taking Parlodel as treatment for Fibrocystic Breast Disease (FBD) for about a year (vitamin supplements did not help). I recently changed health care providers and my new physician is not familiar with the use of Parlodel for treatment of FBD. My previous physician had no concerns with long term use and indicated I may need to take Parlodel for the rest of my life. Thus far, the treatment has been successful (I have experienced the typical side effects - lightheadedness, mild nausea.) My new physician is concerned with the treatment and the long term use of Parlodel and wants me to reduce the dosage and eventually stop taking the drug. I'm worried that the pain will return and don't want to stop taking the drug unless my health is at risk. I also don't want to stop just because my new physician is not familiar with the treatment. Are any of you familiar with the use of Parlodel to treat FBD? If so, are there long term risks or concerns? Is use of Parlodel for treating FBD considered an approved treatment (by the FDA or general medical profession)? What other treatments are available besides Parlodel? I'd like to take as much information back to my new physician as possible and make an educated decision prior to stopping the current treatment.

Answer: I have never used Parlodel for this indication. It is not an approved uses, but sometimes we use drugs for non-approved indications. The long term side effects of Parlodel don't appear to he too severe, as many patients are taking this drug long term for different medical problems. However, like any drug there will be some potential long term problems. Unfortunately, there aren't too many treatment protocols for FBD that work. Many advocate decreasing caffeine and it does work about 10% of the time. Sometimes spirolactone works, but it is a drug also. FBD is also cyclic. Maybe you could stop the Parlodel and see if the problem returns. If so, discuss with your physician restarting the drug. I'd try to see if cyclic use would be as efficacious.

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