Side Effects and Benefits of Lupron Depot

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

Doctor with medical chart talking with patient in examination room
Lupron Depot Medication. Caiaimage/Agnieszka Wozniak / Getty 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.

    Source:

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

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