Eligard is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved for use as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer in adult males.* “Palliative treatment” means that the drug works to help manage pain and other symptoms of this condition. It won’t treat or cure advanced prostate cancer, but it may improve a person’s quality of life.

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate gland. Eligard is approved specifically for advanced prostate cancer. “Advanced” means that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate to other parts of the body.

Drug details

Eligard is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) by a healthcare provider at a doctor’s office or hospital. The drug comes in the following strengths: 7.5 milligrams (mg), 22.5 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg. How often a person receives an injection depends on the strength their doctor prescribes.

Eligard is a type of hormone therapy. It belongs to a group of medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. These medications decrease hormones that make prostate cancer worse. The active drug ingredient in Eligard is leuprolide acetate.

* Use of the terms “male” and “female” within this article refers to a person’s sex assigned at birth.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Eligard, see the “Eligard for prostate cancer” section below.

Eligard is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

The active drug ingredient in Eligard is leuprolide acetate.

Eligard can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Eligard. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Eligard, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Eligard, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Eligard can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Eligard. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Eligard’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Eligard aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Eligard. However, it isn’t known how many people taking Eligard in clinical trials may have had an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth, swelling, or redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Eligard, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Weight gain

It’s possible to gain weight while taking Eligard. However, weight gain wasn’t a common side effect in clinical trials of males using Eligard.

In these trials, less than 2% of males taking Eligard experienced weight gain. Eligard wasn’t compared with a placebo or other drugs.

If you notice unexpected weight gain while you’re taking Eligard, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help you manage your weight.

Tumor flares

When a person starts taking Eligard, their prostate cancer may get worse before it begins to improve. Specifically, their tumor (mass of cancerous tissue) may grow. This is known as a tumor flare. In clinical trials, it wasn’t reported how many people had symptoms from tumor flares.

Eligard may cause a tumor flare because of the way that it works. The active drug in Eligard, leuprolide acetate, decreases two hormones in the body: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. These hormones help to make the male sex hormone testosterone, which fuels production of prostate cancer cells.

However, within the first 1 to 2 weeks of treatment with Eligard, testosterone levels will actually increase. This may cause the tumor to grow and symptoms to worsen at the beginning of treatment. Tumor flares tend to decrease within 2 to 4 weeks after starting treatment with Eligard.

Symptoms of a tumor flare include:

If you notice an increase in your prostate cancer symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to relieve these effects. They may also monitor you to be sure that your symptoms decrease after a few weeks of treatment with Eligard.

Increased risk of certain heart conditions

Although rare, it’s possible to develop heart disease while using Eligard. This risk increases for people who already have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Heart disease can lead to serious complications, including a heart attack or stroke.

In addition, Eligard may cause a change in heart rhythm called QT prolongation. QT prolongation can be very serious and may lead to a life threatening condition called torsades de pointes. Certain other conditions can increase the risk of developing QT prolongation even more. These conditions include heart failure and electrolyte imbalance.

It’s not known how many people taking Eligard in clinical trials developed either heart disease or QT prolongation.

If you’re taking Eligard, your doctor will monitor your heart throughout your treatment. For this purpose, they may recommend blood tests and electrocardiograms (a test that measures the electrical activity of your heart).

If you’re already at risk for heart disease or QT prolongation, your doctor may monitor you more often or may recommend a different medication for your prostate cancer.

Injection site reaction

Eligard is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). As a result, a reaction may occur in the area where the drug is injected. This is called an injection site reaction.

In clinical trials of Eligard, injection site reactions were common. The table below lists the specific symptoms that happened and the percentage of injections in which a reaction occurred.

SymptomPercentage of injections in which a reaction occurred
burning or stinging16% to 34.6%
pain2.3% to 4.6%
rednessup to 2.6%
bruisingup to 2.5%
itchingup to 1.4%
hardened skin*up to 0.4%
breaking of the skin (ulceration)*up to 0.1%

* These symptoms were reported only in males using 7.5 milligrams of Eligard per month. For more about the different dosages of Eligard, see the “Eligard dosage” section below.

In the trials, no one stopped taking Eligard due to injection site reactions. In these trials, Eligard wasn’t compared with a placebo or other drugs.

If you have symptoms of an injection site reaction after your dose of Eligard, talk with your doctor. They may recommend ways to reduce your risk for this side effect. These include getting your dose in a different area of your body, icing the area before and after injection, or taking certain medication before your dose.

Hot flashes or sweats

Hot flashes and sweating (sometimes called sweats) are common side effects of Eligard. This is because the drug works to change hormone levels, which can cause hot flashes or sweats. Hot flashes are a feeling of heat or warmth that overcomes your body, especially your face and neck. Sometimes sweats may also happen during a hot flash.

In clinical trials, hot flashes or sweats occurred in 25% to 73.3% of males using Eligard. In these trials, Eligard wasn’t compared with a placebo or other drugs.

Most males who experienced hot flashes or sweats from Eligard had only mild symptoms, such as sweating or feeling uncomfortable. Hot flashes or sweats were reported to be severe in up to 3% of the males who had them. In these trials, Eligard wasn’t compared with a placebo or other drugs.

If you take Eligard and are having hot flashes, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce this side effect. They may recommend relaxation techniques or other strategies to try to help ease hot flashes.

You may wonder how Eligard compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Eligard and Lupron Depot are alike and different.

Ingredients

The active ingredient in both Eligard and Lupron Depot is leuprolide acetate.

Uses

Here’s a list of conditions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Eligard and Lupron Depot to treat.

  • Both Eligard and Lupron Depot are FDA-approved as a palliative treatment* for:
  • Lupron Depot is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • endometriosis (a condition in which tissue grows abnormally outside of the uterus)

* “Palliative treatment” means that Eligard and Lupron Depot work to help manage pain and other symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. These drugs won’t treat or cure this disease but may help improve a person’s quality of life.

Drug forms and administration

Eligard and Lupron Depot are both given as an injection. However, administration of the injection for each drug is different.

Eligard is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). Lupron Depot is given as an intramuscular injection (an injection into muscle). You receive either injection from a healthcare provider in a doctor’s office or hospital.

Depending on your dose and your doctor’s recommendations, you may receive an Eligard or a Lupron Depot dose once per month, or once every 3, 4, or 6 months.

Note: Another form of Lupron Depot, called Lupron, used to be available. Lupron was also approved as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Like Eligard, it was given as a subcutaneous injection. At this time, Lupron has been discontinued.

Side effects and risks

Eligard and Lupron Depot both contain the same active drug, leuprolide acetate. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with either Eligard or Lupron Depot, as well as mild side effects that both drugs may share.

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with either Eligard or Lupron, as well as serious side effects that both drugs may share.

Effectiveness

Eligard and Lupron have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both approved as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies, but studies have found both Eligard and Lupron Depot to be effective for managing symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.

Costs

According to estimates on Wellrx.com, the cost of Eligard and Lupron Depot will vary depending on your prescribed dose. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Eligard and Lupron Depot are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Eligard.

Is Eligard a chemotherapy drug?

No, Eligard isn’t a chemotherapy drug. Chemotherapy drugs work throughout the body to decrease the number of cancer cells a person has. However, because chemotherapy drugs work throughout a person’s body, they often have many side effects.

Eligard is a type of hormone therapy. It works by decreasing the amount of testosterone (a male sex hormone) that you have. Testosterone helps prostate cancer cells grow. Therefore, decreasing the amount of testosterone that you have decreases the growth of your prostate cancer. This in turn helps decrease symptoms caused by the cancer.

For more on how Eligard helps to manage symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, see the “How Eligard works” section below. If you have additional questions about how Eligard works, talk with your doctor.

How long should you take Eligard?

When you start treatment with Eligard, your doctor will recommend how long to take the drug. In many cases, you may take Eligard for a long period of time.

Although Eligard doesn’t treat advanced prostate cancer, it may help manage your symptoms and decrease side effects that the cancer can cause. Clinical trials of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Eligard, have shown it to be effective for up to 7 years in people with prostate cancer. For more on the effectiveness of Eligard, see the “Eligard for prostate cancer” section below.

Your doctor will help you determine how long you should take Eligard. It’s possible they may recommend you take Eligard as a long-term therapy.

Can I exercise while I’m using Eligard?

Yes, you can exercise while you’re using Eligard. In fact, a study of males taking hormone therapy such as Eligard for prostate cancer showed that exercise may be beneficial. Exercise can lead to positive changes, such as fat loss and increased muscle strength.

However, taking Eligard may make you feel uncomfortable or tired, so you might not feel like exercising. (For more on the side effects Eligard can cause, see the “Eligard side effects” section above.) You also may not be able to work out easily if you have back pain or certain other symptoms from prostate cancer.

Talk with your doctor about exercising safely during your treatment with Eligard. They’ll be able to recommend the right amount of exercise for you to get during your treatment.

Do I have to store Eligard?

No, you shouldn’t have to store Eligard. You’ll receive Eligard as an injection in a doctor’s office or hospital. Usually, the doctor’s office or hospital will supply the medication for you. (For more information on Eligard administration, see the “How Eligard is administered” section below.)

Be sure to talk with your doctor about how to prepare for your appointment to receive your Eligard injection.

Will Eligard cure prostate cancer?

No, Eligard won’t cure advanced prostate cancer. Currently, there’s no cure for this condition. However, medications such as Eligard can help reduce your symptoms of prostate cancer, which may improve your quality of life. (For information on this use of Eligard, see the “Eligard for prostate cancer” section below.)

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for your advanced prostate cancer.

Eligard administration requires a specific injection technique, so you’ll receive the medication from a healthcare provider at a doctor’s office or hospital.

As packaged, Eligard isn’t ready to inject. It comes as a powder and a liquid that a healthcare provider needs to mix together. Once they’ve prepared Eligard and given you an injection, the drug forms a gel in your body.

Over the next month or months (depending on your dose), the drug is slowly released into your body. This is why you only need to get an injection once per month or every few months.

The most common injection site for Eligard is in the middle or upper part of the abdomen (belly). Your healthcare provider will inject the drug into the fatty tissue under your skin. This is known as a subcutaneous injection.

When to take it

How often you need to get Eligard injections depends on the dose of Eligard your doctor prescribes:

DoseHow often you take it
7.5 milligrams (mg)once per month
22.5 mgonce every 3 months
30 mgonce every 4 months
45 mgonce every 6 months

Before beginning treatment, your doctor will discuss Eligard hormone therapy with you. They may make certain recommendations about how often to use Eligard based on your condition.

You may take Eligard for long-term management of your prostate cancer. Studies of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Eligard, have shown it to be effective for up to 7 years in people with prostate cancer. For more on the effectiveness of Eligard, see the “Eligard for prostate cancer” section below.

To help make sure that you don’t miss an appointment to get a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone.

As with all medications, the cost of Eligard can vary. To find current prices for Eligard in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Eligard, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Eligard, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Eligard, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help may be available.

The Eligard website has a support page that lists several organizations you can contact that may be able to help lower the cost of the drug. (You’ll need to scroll down a bit to see the list.)

Generic version

Eligard isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Eligard dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on how often you want to get your Eligard injections. If you receive more frequent injections, you’ll get a lower dose with each injection. The more time between injections, the larger the dose will be.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Eligard is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) by a healthcare provider. You’ll receive it at your doctor’s office or hospital. For more information about how Eligard is given, see the “How Eligard is administered” section above.

Eligard is available in the following strengths: 7.5 milligrams (mg), 22.5 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg.

Dosage for prostate cancer

Eligard is approved only for palliative treatment* of advanced prostate cancer in adult males. It’s given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) by a healthcare provider.

How often you get an injection of Eligard depends on your dose of the drug. The lower the dose, the more frequent the injections. The following table lists how often you’ll receive injections of Eligard based on dose:

DoseHow often you’ll receive an injection
7.5 mgonce per month
22.5 mgonce every 3 months
30 mgonce every 4 months
45 mgonce every 6 months

Despite the dosage differences, each dose of Eligard is designed to give you 7.5 mg of the drug per month. It does this by releasing a small amount of the drug into your body over time. This ensures that you have a consistent amount of medication in your body from one dose to the next.

* “Palliative treatment” means that the drug works to help manage pain and other symptoms of this condition. It won’t treat or cure advanced prostate cancer, but it may improve a person’s quality of life.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss your appointment to get your dose of Eligard, reschedule your appointment as soon as you remember. It’s important to try to stay on a consistent schedule with Eligard. That way the medication has the best chance of working to help manage your prostate cancer.

To help make sure that you don’t miss an appointment to get a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Eligard is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Eligard is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Eligard to treat certain conditions. Eligard may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Eligard is approved for use as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer in adult males. “Palliative treatment” means that the drug works to help manage pain and other symptoms of this condition. It won’t treat or cure advanced prostate cancer, but it may help improve a person’s quality of life.

About prostate cancer

Cancer may happen when cells in the body grow abnormally or out of control. Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate. This is a male gland that makes and releases fluid in semen. It’s located below the bladder.

In younger males, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. As males age, the prostate increases in size. This is natural and occurs normally with age. However, in some cases, the prostate may also increase in size due to the growth of cancer cells.

Advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has spread outside of the prostate gland itself. It may spread into the bone or other organs, such as the bladder. At this time, there is no cure for advanced prostate cancer.

Testosterone, a male sex hormone, fuels the production of prostate cancer cells. Eligard works by decreasing the amount of testosterone that your body makes. This in turn can help ease your symptoms of prostate cancer. For more about how Eligard helps manage prostate cancer symptoms, see the “How Eligard works” section below.

Effectiveness for prostate cancer

Clinical trials looked at the use of different dosages of Eligard in males with prostate cancer. The trials didn’t include a placebo (treatment with no active drug) or comparison medication.

Researchers measured testosterone levels in the blood to see how well Eligard was working. When testosterone levels are low, prostate cancer is less likely to grow and cause symptoms. Testosterone levels above 50 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) could indicate that the drug wasn’t working.

The trials showed that increases in testosterone above 50 ng/dL occurred in up to 3% of males, depending on dosage.

In those males whose testosterone levels increased above 50 ng/dL, levels were again reduced to below 50 ng/dL within 21 days of another dose of Eligard.

The trials also looked at the males’ blood level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein that’s produced by the prostate gland. Many males with prostate cancer have an elevated PSA level. PSA level may also increase due to other conditions that affect the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) or infection.

When males with a high PSA level received Eligard, their PSA level decreased by between 86% and 98%. All males who had a high PSA level before starting the trials showed a decrease in PSA when taking Eligard.

In addition to the use discussed just above, Eligard may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Below is an example of an off-label use for Eligard.

Eligard for breast cancer (off-label use)

At this time, Eligard isn’t approved to treat people with breast cancer. However, because of the way that Eligard works, it’s currently being studied for this use. Eligard is a type of hormone therapy. Some other hormone therapies are approved to treat certain types of breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. An example is goserelin (Zoladex).

Eligard works by decreasing two hormones in your body, luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. In males, these hormones both help make testosterone, which fuels the production of prostate cancer cells.

These hormones also help make estrogen. Therefore, taking Eligard may help decrease the amount of estrogen that people produce. Some breast cancers need estrogen to grow. Having less estrogen can help slow the growth of these cancers.

Studies show that drugs such as Eligard, which decrease luteinizing hormone, may increase the survival time of people with breast cancer. For younger females being treated for breast cancer, these medications could have an added benefit: They may help preserve the females’ ability to become pregnant.

In addition, ongoing trials are looking at whether leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Eligard, may help manage breast cancer. However, Eligard isn’t approved to treat breast cancer. If you have questions about taking Eligard for breast cancer, talk with your doctor.

Eligard and children

Eligard isn’t approved for use in children. It’s not known if Eligard is a safe or effective medication for use in children.

It’s possible you’ll take Eligard with other medications to manage your advanced prostate cancer. Treatment for your specific prostate cancer may depend on other conditions that you have and how advanced your cancer is.

Current treatment guidelines for advanced prostate cancer may recommend using a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, such as Eligard, with other medications. GnRH agonists are often used with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), especially at the beginning of treatment.

ADT drugs block androgen hormones, such as testosterone, from working in your body. Testosterone fuels the production of prostate cancer cells.

When you first start taking Eligard, your testosterone levels may actually increase for the first week or two of treatment. This means that your symptoms of prostate cancer may get worse before they improve.

Therefore, your doctor may recommend that you take an ADT, especially during your first few weeks of treatment. This can help prevent your symptoms from getting worse.

Examples of ADT medications include:

  • bicalutamide (Casodex)
  • nilutamide (Nilandron)
  • flutamide

Your doctor may also recommend taking an ADT medication with Eligard if you have prostate cancer that has come back after treatment or that hasn’t improved with other medications, like ADT drugs alone or radiation treatment. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for you.

There haven’t been studies done on whether Eligard can cause drug dependence. However, Eligard isn’t known to cause any withdrawal symptoms when a person stops taking it. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that may occur after you stop using a medication your body has become dependent on.

Eligard also isn’t known to cause dependence. Dependence is when your body needs the drug to feel normal.

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Eligard.

However, Eligard may cause dizziness or fatigue (lack of energy).* Alcohol may also cause these side effects. Therefore, drinking alcohol while you’re taking Eligard may cause these side effects to feel worse.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink during your Eligard treatment.

* For more about side effects Eligard can cause, see the “Eligard side effects” section above.

Eligard is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer in adult males. “Palliative treatment” means that the drug works to help manage pain and other symptoms of this condition. It won’t treat or cure advanced prostate cancer, but it may help improve a person’s quality of life.

Cancer may happen when cells in your body grow abnormally or out of control. Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate gland. Eligard is approved specifically for advanced prostate cancer. “Advanced” means that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate to other parts of the body.

The active drug in Eligard, leuprolide acetate, works by decreasing two hormones in the body: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. These hormones help to make the male sex hormone testosterone, which fuels the production of prostate cancer cells.

A decrease in testosterone levels may help to shrink the prostate and tumor (mass of cancerous tissue). This in turn may help ease symptoms caused by the cancer.

How long does it take Eligard to work?

Eligard takes a few weeks to begin working.

Within the first 1 to 2 weeks of treatment with Eligard, your testosterone levels will actually increase. This may cause your tumor to grow and symptoms to worsen at the beginning of treatment. This is known as a tumor flare. (For more information on tumor flares, see “Tumor flares” in the “Eligard side effects” section above.)

Tumor flares tend to decrease within 2 to 4 weeks after starting treatment with Eligard. So you may notice symptoms of your prostate cancer begin to improve at this time.

How long does Eligard work for?

When you start treatment with Eligard, your doctor will recommend how long you should take the drug. In many cases, you may take Eligard for a long period of time.

Although Eligard doesn’t work to treat advanced prostate cancer, it can help manage symptoms that the condition may cause. Studies of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Eligard, have shown it to be effective for up to 7 years in people with prostate cancer.

Your doctor will help you determine how long you should take Eligard. It’s possible they may recommend that you take Eligard as a long-term therapy.

How long does Eligard stay in your system?

You receive Eligard as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). However, the drug doesn’t get absorbed into your body all at once. Instead, Eligard releases slowly over time so that you have a consistent amount of drug in your body between doses.

Your dose of Eligard determines how long the drug will stay in your body.

If you’re getting doses each month, the drug slowly releases into your body over the course of a month. If you get Eligard doses every 6 months, your injection will be a higher dose. With the higher dose, the drug slowly releases into your body over the course of 6 months. (For more information, see the “Eligard dosage” section above.)

If you have questions about the best dosing schedule for you or how long Eligard lasts, talk with your doctor.

Other drugs are available that can be used to treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Eligard, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Examples of other drugs that may be used as a palliative treatment* for prostate cancer include:

* “Palliative treatment” means that the drug works to help manage pain and other symptoms of prostate cancer. It won’t treat or cure this condition, but it may help improve a person’s quality of life.

You may wonder how Eligard compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Eligard and Firmagon are alike and different.

Ingredients

The active drug ingredient in Eligard is leuprolide acetate. The active drug ingredient in Firmagon is degarelix. Both medications work to decrease testosterone in the body, which helps to manage symptoms of prostate cancer.

Uses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Eligard and Firmagon to manage symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.

Drug forms and administration

Both Eligard and Firmagon are given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) by a healthcare provider.

Depending on the dose, Eligard is taken once per month, or once every 3, 4, or 6 months. Firmagon is typically taken once every 28 days.

Side effects and risks

Eligard and Firmagon both contain medications that decrease testosterone to help manage prostate cancer. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with either Eligard or Firmagon, as well as mild side effects that both drugs may share.

  • Can occur with Eligard:
    • malaise (general feeling of weakness or discomfort)
  • Can occur with Firmagon:
    • no unique mild side effects
  • Can occur with both Eligard and Firmagon:

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with either Eligard or Firmagon, as well as serious side effects that both drugs may share.

Effectiveness

The only condition both Eligard and Firmagon are used to manage is advanced prostate cancer.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical trials, but studies have found both Eligard and Firmagon to be effective for managing advanced prostate cancer.

Costs

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Eligard and Firmagon generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan and your location.

Eligard and Firmagon are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Eligard may interact with certain medications. It’s not known what supplements or foods may interact with Eligard.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Eligard and other medications

At this time, no drug interaction studies have been done in people taking Eligard. However, postmarketing reports suggest Eligard may interact with certain medications.

Before taking Eligard, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Eligard and certain medications that increase risk of seizure

Some drugs, such as bupropion and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may increase the risk of having a seizure. Taking Eligard along with such medications may further increase risk of seizures.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications that you’re taking before starting Eligard. They may monitor you more often to be sure that you don’t have any seizures.

Eligard and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Eligard. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Eligard.

Eligard and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Eligard. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Eligard, talk with your doctor.

At this time, Eligard isn’t approved for use in females.

Eligard hasn’t been studied in pregnant females, so it’s not known if the drug can be used during pregnancy. However, because Eligard affects hormones, it’s believed that it may increase the risk of miscarriage.

In animal studies, pregnant animals given leuprolide acetate (the active drug ingredient in Eligard) experienced birth defects in their offspring. They also had an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. However, animal studies don’t always predict what would happen in humans.

Eligard and fertility

Eligard is a hormone therapy. It works to reduce symptoms of prostate cancer by decreasing the amount of testosterone that a male produces. However, due to this decrease in testosterone, males using Eligard may experience infertility.

If you have concerns about your fertility, talk with your doctor before starting Eligard.

Eligard may not be safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Eligard.

For more information about taking Eligard during pregnancy, see the “Eligard and pregnancy” section above.

It’s not known if Eligard is safe for females to take. Therefore, it’s not known if the drug is safe for use while breastfeeding or if it’s present in breastmilk. It’s also not known how Eligard may affect a breastfeeding baby.

If you’re breastfeeding, you should either stop breastfeeding while using Eligard or use a different medication for your treatment. Talk with your doctor about the best option for you.

Before taking Eligard, talk with your doctor about your health history. Eligard may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Diabetes. Eligard may increase your blood sugar as well as your risk for developing diabetes. If you already have diabetes, the increase in blood sugar caused by Eligard may make your condition worse. Your doctor will recommend that you keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and may do blood tests to monitor your diabetes while you’re taking Eligard. If your diabetes gets worse while you’re taking Eligard, your doctor may recommend other treatment options to manage your diabetes.
  • Heart disease. Eligard may increase your risk for developing heart disease. If you already have heart disease or risk factors for it, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you may be at a greater risk for heart attack or stroke related to heart disease. If you have heart disease, your doctor may monitor your heart more often during your Eligard treatment.
  • Electrolyte imbalances. Your blood has specific amounts of electrolytes in it that help your body function properly. If you have a condition that causes an imbalance of electrolyte levels, you may be at an increased risk for developing QT prolongation (a heart rhythm problem) while you’re taking Eligard. If you have a history of electrolyte imbalances, your doctor may monitor your electrolyte levels while you’re taking Eligard.
  • Seizures or tumors in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). If you have a history of seizures or tumors in your brain or spinal cord, Eligard may increase your risk for having a seizure. Before starting Eligard, talk with your doctor if you have a history of seizures or brain or spinal cord tumors. They may monitor you more often to be sure that you don’t have any seizures.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Eligard or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Eligard. Ask your doctor which other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Eligard is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Eligard and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Eligard is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Eligard and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Eligard, see the “Eligard side effects” section above.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.