Lupron Depot side effects and how to avoid them
Lupron Depot is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved manufactured by AbbVie Inc. It is classed as a long-acting GnRH agonist (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) and is used to treat advanced prostate cancer in men, early puberty in children, and endometriosis and uterine fibroids in women. While Lupron Depot is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Lupron Depot include hot flashes, sweats, and headaches. Less common, but more serious side effects, can include depression, mood changes, and suicidal thoughts.
Learn more about the side effects of Lupron Depot and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate)?
Lupron Depot contains leuprolide as the active ingredient. It works by reducing the amount of certain hormones in the body, testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
Most types of prostate cancer need testosterone to grow and spread. Leuprolide reduces the amount of testosterone your body makes. This helps to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells and relieve painful, or difficult urination.
Leuprolide is also used to stop early puberty (precocious puberty) in children. It delays the development of the breasts and testicles, and the start of menstrual periods. It also helps to increase the likelihood of reaching normal adult height by slowing down early bone growth. Leuprolide decreases the amount of sex hormones made by a child’s body (estrogen in girls, testosterone in boys).
Lupron Depot is also used for the treatment of endometriosis (endometrial lining normally found inside the uterus begins to grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other areas near the uterus). It may be used on its own or in combination with other medicines. Using norethindrone acetate with Lupron Depot reduces certain side effects linked with Lupron Depot, such as the loss of bone mineral density as well as night sweats and hot flashes.
Lupron Depot may also be used for the treatment of uterine fibroids, in combination with iron prior to operating to reduce anemia caused by fibroids.
Lupron Depot dosage
Lupron Depot is available as depot suspension for injection, 11.25 mg lyophilized powder for reconstitution in a dual-chamber syringe.
Your dose of Lupron Depot will be based on the medical condition you are being treated for. For endometriosis, Lupron Depot is injected under the skin or into a muscle, once every month or once every 3 to 6 months. It is important to note that different brands and strengths of leuprolide are used for the treatment of different conditions. You must receive the correct brand and strength prescribed by your doctor for your condition.
If your symptoms recur after the initial course of treatment, retreatment for no more than 6 months may be considered but only in combination with norethindrone acetate. Your bone density must be assessed before retreatment begins.
You are advised to read the full prescribing information provided with this medicine for drug information and patient information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
Lupron Depot side effects
The most common side effects of Lupron Depot include:
- Hot flashes, sweats, headache
- Decreased sex drive, depression, emotional lability
- Dizziness, nausea, vomiting
- Weight gain
- Bone/joint pain, ankylosing spondylosis, arthritis, bone fracture
- Muscle pain, leg cramps, muscle stiffness, muscle weakness and tenderness
- Problems with your pituitary glands
- Skin reaction at the injection site
- Decreased testicle size
- Vaginal discharge, dryness, or itching
- Vaginal bleeding
- Stomach pain, constipation
- Tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
- Mood changes
- Headaches, feeling tired, fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, mucus cough
Lupron Depot can cause more serious side effects, including:
- New or worsening bone pain, easily broken bones in adults
- Increased thirst and/or urination in adults
- Mood changes – depression, suicidal thoughts, mood swings, aggressive behavior
- Sudden severe headache
- Problems with your eyes or vision
- Bone pain, loss of movement in any part of your body
- Swelling, rapid weight gain
- Sudden chest pain, wheezing, dry cough
- Painful or difficult urination, urinary tract infection
- Pain in your back, numb, weak, or tingly feeling in your legs or feet
- Muscle weakness or loss of use
- Lack of bowel or bladder control
- Chest pain or pressure spreading to your jaw or shoulder
- Sudden numbness or weakness, down one side of the body, slurred speech, difficulty understanding or communicating
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Lupron Depot and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Lupron Depot drug interactions
Lupron Depot can interact with other medications including:
- Treatments for an irregular heartbeat – amiodarone, dronedarone, bepridil, quinidine
- Anti-depressants – citalopram, escitalopram
- Anti-psychotics used for schizophrenia – clozapine, haloperidol, thioridazine
- Treatment for multiple sclerosis – fingolimod, ozanimod, singolimod
- Medication for heart failure – ivabradine
- Treatment for cancer – nilotinib, vandetanib
- Treatment for HIV/AIDS – saquinavir
- Beta-blockers for high blood pressure – sotalol
Before taking Lupron Depot, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.
Lupron Depot warnings & precautions
Don’t take Lupron Depot if:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient leuprolide
- Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Lupron Depot
- Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
Talk to your doctor before taking Lupron Depot if you:
- Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Lupron Depot
- Have depression
- Have a mental health illness or psychosis
- Suffer from seizures or have epilepsy
- Have heart disease, congestive heart failure, long QT syndrome, blood vessel disorder, or a family history of these conditions
- Have a brain tumor or have had a spinal cord injury
- Have high or low levels of potassium or magnesium
- Have osteoporosis
- Are taking steroids long term
- Smoke or drink alcohol
You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Lupron Depot, to make sure it is safe for you.
Other warnings you should know about
- This drug stops you from having a period (menstrual bleeding), but is not a method of birth control. Use a non-hormone type of birth control like condoms to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug
- Lupron carries a warning of an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death in men
- Get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including skin rash, itching, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing
How to avoid Lupron Depot side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Lupron Depot as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and do not take more or less than prescribed.
If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.
1. Stick to the recommended dosage
Take your prescribed dose of Lupron Depot that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
2. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Lupron Depot. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.
3. Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.
4. Know the signs and symptoms of Lupron Depot side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects include hot flashes, night sweats and weight gain. If you experience any of these symptoms speak to your doctor for medical advice.
5. Monitor your weight
Lupron Depot may cause weight gain. If you experience this side effect while taking Lupron Depot, get medical advice from your doctor.
9. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking
Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Lupron Depot.
10. Get regular medical check ups
If you have side effects it is important to get regular medical check ups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may adjust your dose of Lupron Depot as needed.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.