Lupron Side Effects
Hormone therapy drugs, such as Lupron, are used by men and women for many conditions, and even by young children to slow down the signs of puberty. Before taking any type of medication, it’s important to learn everything you can about it, especially how it works and how it might interact with your body.
While everyone is different, there are things you’ll want to know ahead of time, such as the potential risks and the common and uncommon side effects that may occur, as well as any drug interactions.
We’ve done the research so you can have helpful information right at your fingertips.
How Does Lupron Work?
Lupron, or leuprolide, is a medication used for various things, such as treating the symptoms of prostate cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and it’s used to help delay puberty in children or central precocious puberty.
Lupron is an injectable medication that releases synthetic hormones. This medication is considered a type of hormone therapy, and it works by stopping the production of luteinizing hormone and blocking receptors.
There are several ways in which this medication works, it just depends on why it’s being used in the first place.
When Lupron is taken, it tells the brain to stop making luteinizing hormone (LH). When this hormone isn’t produced anymore, the production of estrogen is stalled in women, and testosterone is no longer produced in men.
The reason this would benefit individuals is because it can stop the growth of specific cancer cells, delay bone growth, and delay breast and/or testicle growth in young children.
It could take one to two weeks for this medication to start working. During this time, you may experience a worsening of your symptoms.
This is due to the increase of hormones in your body and is perfectly normal.
When Lupron is being used to delay puberty, children may experience an increase in symptoms relating to puberty within the first week or two due to the increase in hormones. This may include vaginal bleeding. These symptoms should not carry into the second month of treatment.
If they do, you should consult your doctor.
What Are Some Common Side Effects of Lupron?
There are many side effects that can be associated with taking the Lupron injection. During the first couple of weeks of taking this medication, there may be an increase in hormones, especially when it’s taken to delay puberty in children.
The side effects will vary, depending on the dosage and why the medication is being taken.
Some of the most common side effects individuals might experience include:
- Hot flashes or flushing
- Sweating more than usual, including night sweats
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Upset stomach
- Redness and/or burning and stinging at the injection site
- Increased nighttime urination
- Swollen ankles
- Loss of interest in sex
- Inability to have an erection and keep one
The side effects of Lupron usually do not happen right away. It’s typically within the first two weeks of starting the medication that you’ll notice them, although they can last longer.
If you have symptoms that last more than a few weeks, let your doctor know so they can let you know if it’s normal or not.
More Serious Lupron Side Effects
As with any medication you can take, there are the common side effects of taking a medication, and then there are the less frequent but more severe ones.
Some infrequent side effects include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Voice deepening in women
- Coughing up blood
- Bacterial infection in the kidney
- Low blood pressure
- Decreased white blood cells
- Vision loss
- Suicidal thoughts
Although these symptoms are rare, they are more serious when they do happen. If you experience any of these side effects, consult a medical professional right away.
They may have to determine if another medication would be better for you to take instead.
Do Lupron Side Effects Go Away?
Most people began to notice that any side effects experienced while taking Lupron do go away after a full course of treatment.
It does make a difference how often you take the medication and how much is taken. However, it could take several months after you last take Lupron for your side effects to go away completely.
If you have mild symptoms when taking Lupron, they may go away on their own within a couple of weeks.
Is Lupron Highly Addictive?
At this time, it’s doesn’t appear that Lupron is addictive or habit-forming.
There is also no evidence that shows a Lupron dependance can occur during the course of the hormone treatment.
Are There Long-Term Side Effects or Harm Caused by Lupron Use?
Lupron is not a medication you’d want to take forever. This medication is known to cause a loss in bone density.
Which leads to them becoming weak. When your bones are weak they can break easily. A doctor will likely have an individual take vitamin D and calcium supplements during the course of the treatment to help keep their bones strong.
Lupron and Alcohol
When taking Lupron, it’s recommended to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or to try and avoid it altogether.
Lupron can end up making you feel dizzy, which can increase in severity when you drink alcohol. There are no known interactions between alcohol and Lupron, but medications and alcohol can affect people differently.
If you plan on drinking while on this medication, it’s important to consult your doctor.
Lupron Drug Identification Number
The identification number of Lupron depends on the dosage, they are as follows:
- 00836273 LUPRON DEPOT 7.5 MG VIAL
- 00884502 LUPRON DEPOT 3.75 MG VIAL
- 02230248 LUPRON DEPOT 22.5 MG VIAL
- 02239833 LUPRON DEPOT 30 MG VIAL
- 02239834 LUPRON DEPOT 11.25 MG VIAL
Lupron comes in various dosages, allowing doctors to find the right amount for their patients.
The dosages are as follows:
- 7.5 milligrams taken over the course of one month
- one injection every four weeks
- 22.5 milligrams taken over the course of three months
- one injection every 12 weeks
- 30 milligrams taken over the course of four months
- one injection every 16 weeks
- 45 milligrams taken over the course of 6 months
- one injection every 24 weeks
Lupron is often only given by medical professionals, but you might be trained to give yourself shots at home. Patients should take Lupron exactly how it’s prescribed.
Always check your medication when you get it and before you take it to make sure it’s the right dosage. Since Lupron is an injectable medication, your doctor will show you exactly how to do it before you have to do it on your own.
When you do start administering it by yourself, make sure to do it exactly the same way the doctor showed you.
Lupron does not contain a preservative. This means you should use it within 30 minutes of filling the syringe.
If you end up accidentally missing a dose, you must consult your doctor to find out the next steps you must take.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
When taking Lupron, the chances of becoming pregnant are rare. This is because it typically prevents ovulation. Pregnancy can still occur though.
Before going on Lupron, women of childbearing age will be tested to make sure they are not pregnant.
The Lupron injection should be avoided during pregnancy because there is evidence that it can harm a fetus. It’s essential to prevent pregnancy from occurring while taking this medication with non-hormonal birth control medications.
If pregnancy does happen during the course of the treatment, it’s important to let the doctor know immediately. They’ll discuss another treatment plan with you to keep the baby healthy.
At this time, it isn’t known if Lupron passes through breast milk. It is not recommended to breastfeed while taking this medication to reduce the possible risks that can occur.
Is Lupron Right for You?
With any type of medication, there will be pros and cons you need to understand before determining if it’s right for you or not.
Discussing the benefits and the potential risks with a medical doctor can help you make that decision. Reading other people’s experiences with Lupron can help steer you in the right direction, but it’s important to understand that every medication affects people differently.
There are risks associated with Lupron, as there are with any medication. Depending on your medical history and why you might need to take Lupron, the pros of the medication might completely outweigh the cons.
This means that a doctor might see the risks as being low compared to your need to be on the medication.
If you have osteoporosis or have a family history of it, a doctor might decide Lupron is not a good fit for you since this medication is known to cause bone density loss.
When to Consult Your Doctor
Lupron can cause certain reactions that would require immediate medical attention.
While these reactions are not that common, they can still happen, so they’re something everyone should be aware of. Consult your doctor immediately if:
- You are unable to urinate
- You feel a tingling sensation or numbness in your legs and arms
Other reactions that do not need immediate medical attention, but should be brought to the attention of a medical professional within 24 hours of occurrence include:
- Changes in memory or mood
- Extreme fatigue
- Sudden weight gain
- Feet and ankles swelling
- Redness and pain in only one leg or arm
If you have any symptom that doesn’t seem like it’s normal, it’s important to let your doctor know.
Risks of Lupron
You don’t want to take Lupron if you’re pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, are breastfeeding, or are allergic to Lupron or any of its ingredients.
It is not recommended to take Lupron if you have depression, emotional instability, or suffer from suicidal thoughts. Taking this medication can worsen these thoughts and feelings.
This is a rare occurrence, but it is known to happen. If a doctor feels that a patient with mental health issues should still take the medication, they’ll likely be closely monitored to ensure they’re okay.
Lupron can end up leading to a decrease in glucose tolerance, which increases the risk of developing diabetes. Doctors will closely monitor a patient’s blood sugar levels during the course of treatment.
If a patient already has diabetes before starting the medication, they’ll likely require more monitoring of their glucose levels.
Lupron Drug Interactions
If you’re taking any type of medications, including vitamins, prescriptions, or over-the-counter supplements, you need to tell your doctor before beginning Lupron treatment.
Even if you might think it’s insignificant, like protein powders, for example, it’s something you must bring up. Lupron interacts with many types of medications including:
- Antidepressants, especially Celexa and Elavil
- Pain medications that include Methadone and Hydrocodone
- AIDS/HIV medications including Invarase
- Drugs used for irregular heartbeats such as Sorine, Rythmol, and Nexterone
- Antipsychotic medications including Seroquel and Geodon
- Antibiotics including Avelox, Biaxin, and Z-pack
Lupron, when mixed with certain medications, can lead to serious health complications. Before deciding to take Lupron, bring a list of every single medication you’re taking to your appointment so your doctor can make sure Lupron will not interact negatively with any of them.
Alternative Drugs and Treatment
If you determine that Lupron isn’t the right fit for you, there are several other options you may want to consider.
Lupron is considered to be an LHRH agonist. Others include:
Alternative treatment options aside from other LHRH agonists are:
These are used to prevent the testosterone from being able to work in the body. Anti-androgens are typically prescribed in a combination with other hormone therapies for the best possible results.
CYP17 inhibitors work by preventing other cells in the body from making testosterone. There are other cells in the body that produce testosterone besides the testicles.
This is another type of hormone therapy known as surgical castration. This is when both of the testicles are removed to prevent them from producing testosterone.
When medication is used to help stop the spread of different cancers, other treatment options may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Vaccine treatment
When medication is needed to prevent early puberty from occurring, alternative options are:
- Supprelin – This treatment is given once a year and is able to suppress the hormones for up to a year.
- Triptodur – This treatment is given every six months and is given by intramuscular injection.
If you’re unsure of the right options you should take, a doctor can help you make your decision. If Lupron isn’t the best option for your medical history or because of the side effects, a doctor can help determine a better fit for you.