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Lupron Depot

Lupron Facts, Side Effects and Benefits

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Updated April 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate for depot suspension), a GnRH agonist, is a hormonal agent that significantly reduces estrogen levels. The medication works in two distinct phases. Phase one stimulates the ovaries causing them to produce more estradiol, the most potent of the three estrogens produced by women. In phase two, the messenger hormones that tell the ovaries to produce estrogen decline dramatically. The resulting drop in estrogen causes women to experience menopause-like side effects.

Lupron is prescribed for women with very bad endometriosis or severe menorrhagia. It also may be administered before assisted reproduction. In men, Lupron is used to treat advanced prostate cancer. It also may be used in children who are diagnosed with central precocious puberty (early puberty). Before you decide to use Lupron, make sure you understand the facts about the benefits and side effects so that you can make an informed decision.

Side Effects and Lupron Depot

Side effects that have been associated with the use of Lupron Depot frequently include hot flashes and night sweats, and less frequently palpitations, syncope, and tachycardias. Other side effects include generalized pain, headaches, vaginitis, nausea/vomiting, fluid retention[, weight gain, acne, hirsutism, joint pain, loss of sexual desire, depression, dizziness, nervousness, and breast changes such as tenderness and pain. There have been no deaths directly related to therapy with Lupron Depot.

Lupron is an effective and medically accepted treatment for endometriosis. Despite the fact that many women do experience side effects during treatment with Lupron Depot, women often consider these side effects to be a necessary price to pay for the relief of the severe pain and suffering of endometriosis.

What happens during treatment with Lupron?

Treatment with Lupron is limited to six months. Although Lupron is not a cure for endometriosis, the pain relief it provides can last for several years. During clinical trials, 63% percent of women diagnosed with mild endometriosis said they were symptom-free five years after the end of treatment. Only 26% percent of women diagnosed with severe endometriosis still reported that they were symptom-free after five years.

For the first week or two after the first injection of Lupron, reproductive hormones increase, causing an increase in symptoms. However, after the first few weeks these hormones decrease to levels seen in menopausal women. Most women stop having menstrual periods during Lupron therapy.

It is important to remember that Lupron is not a contraceptive and it is possible for pregnancy to occur during the first few weeks of therapy. Non-hormonal birth control should be used to prevent pregnancy. Suitable forms of contraceptives include condoms, diaphragms with contraceptive jelly, and IUDs (only non-hormonal IUDs). Contact your clinician immediately if you suspect that you may be pregnant while using Lupron.

Is Lupron right for you?

Does Lupron sound too good to be true? It may be according to visitors to the Women's Health Forums. Find out what other women have to say about their decisions whether or not to use Lupron, and their experiences using this drug. Do you have questions about Lupron?

Source:

Lupron Depot. NIH.gov. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=3671. Accessed 08/26/09.

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