Lupron is a medicine prescribed to treat advanced prostate cancer in adults and central precocious puberty in children. It comes as an injection that is given just under the skin (subcutaneously) once daily. This medicine works by lowering testosterone levels and blocking the production of sex hormones. Potential side effects may include pain, weakness, and hot flashes. Lupron is only available as a generic medication.
What Is Lupron?
Lupron® (leuprolide acetate) is a prescription medication approved to relieve pain and other symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. It is also approved to treat a condition called central precocious puberty in children (or simply precocious puberty), which occurs when a child goes into puberty too early.
Lupron is also available as an intramuscular (IM) injection (an injection given into the muscle) as Lupron Depot® (leuprolide acetate depot). This injection is given every one to four months. Lupron and Lupron Depot are not interchangeable.
Lupron was originally manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. However, brand-name Lupron is no longer available. Generic versions are made by a few different manufacturers.
How Does Lupron Work?
Lupron is similar to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone found naturally in the body. GnRH controls the release of two other hormones from the pituitary gland (a tiny gland located beneath the brain): luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones stimulate production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) in the ovaries and testicles.
Normally, when GnRH is released by the body, LH and FSH levels increase and more sex hormones are produced. Because Lupron is similar to GnRH, this series of events occurs when Lupron is first given, causing an initial rise in sex hormone levels. However, after two to four weeks of Lupron use, the body stops releasing LH and FSH, and testosterone and estrogen are no longer produced.
In most cases, testosterone stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells. By reducing testosterone levels, Lupron slows down or prevents the growth of the testosterone-dependent cancer cells. This can help reduce the symptoms of cancer.
Lupron works to treat precocious puberty by blocking the production of sex hormones (testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls), which temporarily stops puberty.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Lupron Injection [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2010 December.
Lupron Injection for Pediatric Use [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2008 December.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 8, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed June 8, 2011.
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