Is Lupron Depot the Right Medication for Me?

How Lupron Can Help You, and What Side Effects You Can Expect

Lupron Depot. Credit: / Google Images

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.

Why Might My Doctor Recommend Lupron Depot?

Lupron is prescribed for women with acute endometriosis or severe menorrhagia (abnormally heavy bleeding during menstruation). It is not a cure for endometriosis, but can provide pain relief that lasts for several years. It also may be administered before assisted reproduction, or be used in children who are diagnosed with central precocious puberty (early puberty). 

Side Effects Associated with Lupron Depot

Side effects that have been associated with the use of Lupron Depot include hot flashes and night sweats and, less frequently, palpitations, syncope, and tachycardia.

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
  • breast tenderness or pain

    What Is Lupron Treatment Like?

    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.

    Lupron is not a contraceptive, however, 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 non-hormonal IUDs. You should contact your clinician immediately if you suspect that you may be pregnant while using Lupron.

    Lupron treatments are limited to six months.

    Next: Is Lupron Right for You?

    Find out what other women have to say about their decisions regarding Lupron, and their experiences using this drug.


    Lupron Depot. Accessed 08/26/09.

    One Lupron Injection Too Many!

    "I took only 3 injections of Lupron. One too many in my book! The scary part is the medical community has no idea how to handle ones adverse effects. I actually collapsed from it after my third injection. It took one year of my life to feel half way human again. We can only tell our stories, and hope people read as much as they can. I am 47, post menopausal with Endometriosis." -- SNOW16

    Lupron, Fertility, and Pregnancy

    "I was given Lupron 1 month ago for infertility problems. Recently though, I have found out all of the bad side effects that come from it and I'm not going in for my final shot in 2 months. My question is, how long after receiving the injection do you think is safe to start trying to conceive again? My Doc told me that the six months after the initial six months of treatment is best time. But if it is still in my system, I don't dare try to get pregnant. Help me please -- I don't trust my Doctor." -- DEB2591

    Lupron, Fibroids, and Hysterectomy

    "I am experiencing pain from fibroids, my doctor recommended I take Lupron to see if my fibroids will shrink thus reduce my pelvic pain. Tell me about Lupron? What are the effects? If the Lupron does not shrink my fibroids, my doctor believes a hysterectomy must be done." -- RITAGG

    Pre-hysterectomy Lupron?

    "I am 43 years old and have been dealing with extremely heavy periods for a couple years now. I have 1 large fibroid and a very large uterus with a thick endometrial lining. I have tried taking progestin and have had a D&C /hysteroscopy. All have only been temporary solutions. Now periods are lasting almost 2 weeks and I have spotting in between periods. My doctor is recommending a hysterectomy. However, because my uterus is so large I cannot have it done vaginally, it must be done abdominally. She has suggested taking Lupron for 3 months prior to surgery in hopes of shrinking my uterus enough to allow for a vaginal hysterectomy. I don't know what to do. I've been reading up on Lupron and it doesn't sound that great. There are a lot of adverse side effects. The thought of surgery scares me terribly. I don't know if I should 1)take the Lupron in hopes of having a vaginal hysterectomy, 2)just have an abdominal hysterectomy, or 3) not have anything done at all and keep putting up with prolonged, heavy bleeding every month. Any advice would be appreciated!" -- SANDY1680

    What to Expect From Lupron

    "I had surgery for removal of massive adhesions. They removed 80% of visible endometriosis, all but 1 fibroid tumor was removed (it was in the muscle) and ovarian cysts. I am 33 and my MD said she could not believe the mess that was in there! She gave me an injection of Lupron while I was in recovery and put me on Paxil and Ativan to help me deal with the symptoms of menopause, saying they would be sudden. Does anyone take or know anything about Lupron? What should I expect with the menopause? I am only taking it for 6 months." -- CJJD2001

    She Says Surgery, Doc Says Lupron

    "I was diagnosed with endo 4 years ago. I am suffering a lot more since. It seems it has gotten a lot worse. We have been trying to get pregnant since last November, no luck. I went to 2 doctors and they don't want to do another surgery. They just want me on Lupron which I refuse. I feel that another surgery would be helpful in removing the endo but these docs say "no." I really would like some relief. When I had a laparoscopy in 1997, I don't think they removed the endo they just removed a sample for biopsy, so I know I still have endo. Please help. Should I still insist on surgery? BTW, one doc said he would do surgery if I agreed to be on Lupron afterwards. Nice doc huh? Well let me know what you think." -- HEIDI24100


    Lupron Depot. Accessed 08/26/09.

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