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  • Author: Anas K Gremida, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M Wheeler, MD  more...
Updated: Dec 11, 2015

Reference Range

The reference range for prolactin in females is as follows:

  • Nongravid/nonlactating: 2-29 ng/mL
  • Gravid: 10-209 ng/mL (third trimester)

The reference range for prolactin in males is 2-18 ng/mL.



Hyperprolactinemia is associated primarily with prolactin-secreting pituitary tumors (prolactinoma).

Conditions associated with prolactin deficiency include anterior pituitary dysfunction secondary to the following:


Collection and Panels

Specifics for collection and panels are as follows:

  • Specimen type: Blood serum
  • Container: Vacutainer, red/black top
  • Collection method: Venipuncture
  • Specimen volume: 0.6 mL
  • Other instructions: Collect specimen within 3-4 hours of awakening

Related tests are as follows:




Prolactin is pituitary hormone that stimulates breast development and milk production in women. Prolactin has no known normal function in men.[1, 2, 3, 4]

An image depicting prolactin can be seen below.

Prolactin structure. Prolactin structure.


Indications for testing of serum prolactin include the following:

  • Evaluation of galactorrhea
  • Evaluation of headache and visual field deficits
  • Evaluation of pituitary tumors
  • Evaluation of male and female infertility
  • Evaluation of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea
  • Evaluation of erectile dysfunction
  • Evaluation of hypogonadism
  • Monitoring therapy of prolactinoma and detecting recurrences


Hyperprolactinemia may also be associated with the following:

Hyperprolactinemia may also be associated with the following drugs:

  • Estrogen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Reserpine
  • Verapamil
  • Methyldopa
  • Butyrophenones
  • H2 blockers
  • Metoclopramide
  • Phenothiazines
  • Risperidone
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Anas K Gremida, MD Resident Physician, Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program, St Louis University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Thomas M Wheeler, MD Chairman, Department of Pathology and Immunology, WL Moody, Jr, Professor of Pathology, Professor of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine

Thomas M Wheeler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for Cancer Research, American Medical Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Cytopathology, American Thyroid Association, American Urological Association, College of American Pathologists, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, International Society of Urological Pathology, Harris County Medical Society

Disclosure: Received stock from PathXL for medical advisory board. for: PathXL, Inc.


Judy Lin, MD

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Segu VB. Prolactinoma. Medscape Drugs & Diseases. Available at November 2, 2015; Accessed: December 11, 2015.

  2. Benson CT. Prolactin Deficiency. Medscape Drugs & Diseases. Available at June 10, 2014; Accessed: December 11, 2015.

  3. Joustra SD, Roelfsema F, Endert E, Ballieux BE, van Trotsenburg AS, Fliers E, et al. Pituitary Hormone Secretion Profiles in IGSF1 Deficiency Syndrome. Neuroendocrinology. 2015 Aug 25. [Medline].

  4. Porta F, Ponzone A, Spada M. Short prolactin profile for monitoring treatment in BH4 deficiency. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2015 May. 19 (3):360-3. [Medline].

Prolactin structure.
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