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Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Taking a Close Look at Lupron Depot for Treating Prostate Cancer

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Lupron Depot is the brand name for leuprolide, one of several hormonal drugs used to treat prostate cancer. It works by suppressing production of testosterone, a male hormone that can fuel the progression of prostate cancer. Leuprolide falls into a class of drugs called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists. Other drugs in this class include goserelin (Zoladex), triptorelin (Trelstar) and histrelin (Vantas).

Hormone therapy was once reserved for men whose prostate cancer had spread to other sites, but now it's often given preemptively to men whose cancer hasn't spread but is expected to. For men with advanced prostate cancer, it's used to prolong life and relieve symptoms. 

Lupron Depot is given as an injection in intervals of either one, three, four or six months, depending on the formulation. An effective weapon in controlling prostate cancer, as a hormone therapy Lupron Depot comes with some serious side effects. For one, right after the shot, Lupron Depot can cause a surge of testosterone lasting about two weeks, which may result in increased bone pain and swelling of the prostate, blocking urine flow. Your doctor may prescribe another drug, called an anti-androgen, to prevent this reaction. 

Luprone Depot side effects. The most common side effects of Lupron Depot are hot flashes, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction and weight gain, but they're usually reversible after treatment ends. Hormone therapy can also raise your risk for metabolic syndrome, a group of five conditions -- high blood glucose; high blood pressure; low HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol; high triglycerides; abdominal obesity -- that makes you more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Work with your doctor to make sure these factors are kept in check. 

Posted in Prostate Disorders on February 23, 2012


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Health Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the Johns Hopkins editors cannot be answered in this space.

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I wonder why the notices on side effects don't mention the regression of genitals to pre-pubescent status? How about a standard for informing men of the outcomes of treatment and the options for "rehab?"

Posted by: 55427j | February 27, 2012 1:43 PM

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