Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate for depot suspension), a GnRH agonist, is a hormonal agent that greatly reduces estrogen levels. The drug works in two stages. Stage one stimulates the uterus, making them produce more estradiol, the most potent of the three estrogens produced by women. In stage 2, the messenger hormones that tell the ovaries to make estrogen decline dramatically.
The resulting drop in estrogen induces women to experience menopause-like unwanted side effects.
Why Might My Doctor Recommend Lupron Depot?
Lupron is prescribed for women with acute endometriosis or acute menorrhagia (abnormally heavy bleeding during menstruation). It’s not a cure for endometriosis but can offer pain relief that lasts for many years. Additionally, it may be administered before assisted reproduction, or be used in children that are diagnosed with central precocious puberty (early puberty).
Side Effects Associated with Lupron Depot
Side effects which have been linked to the use of Lupron Depot include hot flashes and night sweats and, less often, palpitations, syncope, and tachycardia.
Other side effects include:
- Generalized pain
- fluid retention
- weight reduction
- joint pain
- loss of sexual appetite
- breast pain or tenderness
What Exactly Is Lupron Treatment Like?
For the first week or 2 after the initial injection of Lupron, reproductive hormones grow, causing an increase in symptoms. But after the first few weeks, these hormones decrease to levels found in menopausal women. Most women stop having periods throughout therapy.
Lupron is not a contraceptive, however, and it is possible for pregnancy to happen during the first few weeks of therapy. Non-hormonal birth control should be used to avoid pregnancy. Suitable types of contraceptives contain condoms, diaphragms with contraceptive jelly, and non-hormonal IUDs. You should contact your clinician immediately if you suspect you might be pregnant while using Lupron.
Lupron treatments are restricted to six weeks.