BACKGROUND: Octreotide treatment may be associated with gall stone development in up to 50% of patients with acromegaly. Two new sustained-release formulations of somatostatin analogue have been recently developed: lanreotide SR (Somatuline) and octreotide LAR (Sandostatin LAR). The incidence of gall-stone development in patients receiving these drugs has been shown to be less than 20%, but the duration of follow-up has been limited. OBJECTIVE: Prospectively to assess and compare the effects of the two new long-acting somatostatin agonists on gall bladder motility in patients with acromegaly. METHOD AND PATIENTS: Eleven patients with active acromegaly were studied. Three patients had asymptomatic gall stones at the start of the study. Ultrasound scans were performed before commencement of the treatment, and repeated during treatment with lanreotide SR and octreotide LAR. The presence of gall stones, fasting gall bladder volume (FV), residual volume (RV) and maximal percentage gall bladder emptying were measured. RESULTS: One patient developed asymptomatic small gall stones after treatment with octreotide LAR for 4 months. FV and RV were both significantly larger when patients received treatment with lanreotide SR or octreotide LAR compared with pretreatment values (P<0.05 for both). Maximal percentage gall bladder emptying was significantly reduced in patients receiving lanreotide SR or octreotide LAR compared with pretreatment (P<0.01), but was less impaired in patients receiving lanreotide SR than in those receiving octreotide LAR (P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Gall bladder motility is impaired in patients receiving either of these new long-acting preparations, and long-term follow-up will be needed to establish the true incidence of gall stones.