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

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Growth hormone



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