Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Generic Name: Leuprolide
Other Trade Names: Eligard TM, Lupron ®, Viadur TM
Lupron Depot is a hormone therapy. Lupron Depot is classified as an
"LHRH agonist." For more detail, see "How Lupron Depot Works" section below).
What Lupron Depot Is Used For:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer
- Also used in non-cancerous conditions such as endometriosis, infertility, benign
prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use
this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Lupron Depot Is Given:
- As an injection under the skin (subcutaneous, SubQ), or into the muscle (intramuscular,
- May be given as a daily, monthly, or every 3 or 4month injection depending on the
formulation and condition being treated.
- Also may be given as a once-a-year implantable device (Viadur(tm)). The device
looks like a one and 1/2 inch coffee stirrer. It is implanted under the skin.
Positioned at one end of the device are "osmotic tablets." These tablets expand
in the presence of water drawn in from the surrounding tissue at a constant and
steady rate. As water is drawn in through this end, it exerts pressure inside the
implant that steadily pushes the right amount of medication out of a small hole
in the other end. The device is removed at the end of the year.
- There is no pill form of Lupron Depot.
- Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.
Important things to remember about Lupron Depot side effects:
- Most people do not experience all of the Lupron Depot side effects listed.
- Lupron Depot side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- Lupron Depot side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent Lupron Depot side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of Lupron Depot side effects
and the effectiveness of Lupron Depot.
The following Lupron Depot side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%)
for patients taking Lupron Depot:
These Lupron Depot side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about
10-29%) of patients receiving Lupron Depot:
- Increased bone pain or urinary retention due to disease "flare" during first couple
weeks of treatment.
- Breast pain (see sexuality)
- Discomfort at injection site
- Blood test abnormalities - increased cholesterol levels
- Swelling of feet or ankles (edema)
- Weakness -general loss of strength
- Swelling of the breasts (gynecomastia) (see sexuality)
Lupron Depot may cause short-term (within first 2 weeks of treatment) increases
in testosterone serum levels. When this is used for prostate cancer the resulting
"tumor flare" can cause temporary increase of bone pain, swelling of the prostate
that blocks urine flow or swelling around tumor in the spine causing compression
of the spinal cord. If you are noticing increased weakness, numbness or tingling
in arms or legs, or difficulty with urination, report these symptoms to your health
care provider immediately.
Rare but significant side effects may include heart problems such as congestive
heart failure (1%) or problems with blood clots (1%). Blood clots can
lead to pulmonary embolus or stroke - potentially life-threatening conditions.
Not all Lupron Depot side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring
in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always
inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience
any of the following symptoms:
- Urinary retention or inability to urinate
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in arms or legs
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.
Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Swelling of the feet or ankles. Sudden weight gain
- Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other
- Changes in mood or memory
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting Lupron Depot treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any
other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins,
herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless
your doctor specifically permits this.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior
to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category X (Lupron Depot may cause fetal harm
when given to a pregnant woman. Lupron Depot must not be given to a pregnant
woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant
while taking Lupron Depot, Lupron Depot must be stopped immediately and the woman
given appropriate counseling).
- For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Lupron
Depot. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended.
Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child
- Do not breast feed while taking Lupron Depot.
- If you are experiencing hot flashes, wearing light clothing, staying in a cool environment,
and putting cool cloths on your head may reduce symptoms. Consult you health care
provider if these worsen, or become intolerable.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided
completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health
care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that
are effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking
Lupron Depot, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy.
Periodic blood work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function
of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) may also be ordered by your doctor.
How Lupron Depot Works:
Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by glands in the body,
which enter the bloodstream and cause effects in other tissues. For example,
the hormone testosterone, made in the testicles and is responsible for male characteristics
such as deepening voice and increased body hair. The use of hormone therapy
to treat cancer is based on the observation that receptors for specific hormones
that are needed for cell growth are on the surface of some tumor cells. Hormone
therapy can work by stopping the production of a certain hormone, blocking hormone
receptors, or substituting chemically similar agents for the active hormone, which
cannot be used by the tumor cell. Different types of hormone therapies are categorized
by their function and/or the type of hormone that is affected.
Lupron Depot is classified as a leutinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist.
HRH agonists work by telling the pituitary gland located in the brain to stop producing
leutinizing hormone, which (in men) stimulates the testicles to release testosterone
and (in women) stimulates the ovaries to release estrogen. Lupron Depot does
not have a direct effect on the cancer, only on the testicles or ovaries.
The resulting lack of testosterone (in men) and estrogen (in women) interferes with
stimulating cell growth in testosterone or estrogen dependent cancer cells.
In treatment of prostate cancer LHRH agonists are often used together with anti-androgen
medications. Anti-androgens are substances that block the effects of testosterone.
Cancer of the prostate depends on the male hormone testosterone for its growth.
If the amount of testosterone is reduced it is possible to slow down or shrink the
- Examples of anti-androgens are: bicalutamide, flutamide, nilutamide.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
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