Medical treatment of carcinoid syndrome

This is used in order to control the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome. The principles are to block the action of the carcinoid hormones and replace any deficiencies.

Diarrhoea is usually relieved by the administration of serotonin blockers (such as cyproheptadine) and somatostatin analogues (e.g. octreotide - a drug that has a generally inhibitory effect on hormone release). Traditional anti-diarrhoeals include loperamide and codeine.

In cases of severe diarrhoea, medical management includes rehydration to replace the lost fluid.

Flushing can be improved by drugs such as antihistamines, somatostatin analogues (e.g. octreotide), methyldopa, phenoxybenzamine and glucocorticoids.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are of limited use in treating carcinoid tumours