Lupron Depot is a brand-name prescription medication that’s FDA-approved for the following uses:

  • as a palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer in males.* (Palliative treatment is given to help relieve the symptoms of a condition and improve quality of life. It’s not used to cure a disease or prolong someone’s life.)
  • to relieve pain associated with endometriosis and to reduce the size of lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside the uterus) from this condition in females*
  • to reduce the size of uterine fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the tissue around the womb) in females, which helps relieve bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure

Another form of the drug, Lupron Depot-Ped, is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children. (See “What’s Lupron Depot-Ped?” below to learn more.)

Lupron Depot contains the drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, such as estrogen or testosterone. This can help stop certain cells from growing.

Lupron Depot is given as an injection into the muscle by your doctor.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

What’s Lupron Depot-Ped?

Lupron Depot-Ped is a brand-name prescription medication that’s used to treat central precocious puberty in children. With this condition, children begin their sexual development earlier than usual (before age 8 for girls and before age 9 for boys).

Lupron Depot-Ped contains the active drug leuprolide acetate (the same as Lupron Depot). By blocking the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, Lupron Depot-Ped delays puberty while it’s being given.

Although Lupron Depot-Ped and Lupron Depot contain the same active drug, they treat different conditions. This article will discuss both Lupron Depot-Ped and Lupron Depot, which is used for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer in males.* It also treats endometriosis or uterine fibroids in females.*

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Effectiveness

To learn about Lupron Depot’s effectiveness for each of the conditions it’s approved to treat, see the “Lupron Depot uses” section.

Lupron Depot 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 typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Lupron Depot contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. A different version of leuprolide acetate is available as a generic drug. For details, see the “Lupron Depot vs. leuprolide acetate” section below. You can also talk with your doctor or a pharmacist for more information.

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

For more information on the possible side effects of Lupron Depot, 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 they have approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Lupron Depot, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

The mild side effects of Lupron Depot that are more common* can include:

  • body pain
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • acne
  • reduced sex drive
  • depression or other emotional changes, like anxiety
  • trouble urinating
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • joint pain
  • testicular shrinkage in males†
  • erectile dysfunction in males
  • vaginal irritation or inflammation (swelling) in females†
  • flu-like syndrome (symptoms similar to those caused by the flu, such as fever, chills, headache, and body aches)
  • hot flashes (see “Side effect details” below)
  • weight gain (see “Side effect details” below)
  • period changes or not having a period in females (see “Side effect details” below)

The mild side effects of Lupron Depot that are less common** can include:

  • dehydration
  • muscle pain
  • dizziness
  • general tingling or numbness
  • increase in total cholesterol
  • injection site reactions (see “Side effect details” below)

* occurred in 10% or more of people in clinical studies
** occurred in less than 10% of people in clinical studies
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

How severe these side effects are may vary depending on your dosage schedule of Lupron Depot. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

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

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Tumor flare with prostate cancer. Symptoms can include:
    • trouble urinating
    • painful urination
    • spinal cord compression, which may lead to paralysis
  • Estrogen spike with endometriosis, which may make your endometriosis symptoms worse before they get better. Symptoms can include:
    • pelvic pain
    • painful intercourse
    • painful or heavy periods
  • High blood sugar that may lead to new or worsening type 2 diabetes. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling very thirsty
    • headache
    • feeling sluggish
  • Loss of bone density, if Lupron Depot is taken long term.
  • Convulsions (violent shaking, seizures).
  • Problems with your heart’s electrical activity, such as long QT syndrome. Symptoms can include:
    • unexplained fainting
    • seizures
    • noisy gasping while sleeping
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, sudden death, or stroke. Symptoms can include:
    • pressure, tightness, or pain in chest
    • feeling lightheaded or dizzy
    • sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg (on one side of the body)
    • sudden confusion or trouble speaking
    • sudden trouble walking

Other serious side effects, explained in more detail below in “Side effect details,” include:

Side effects in children

The most common side effects seen in children who took Lupron Depot-Ped for central precocious puberty include:

  • injection site reactions like pain, swelling, and infection
  • weight gain
  • pain throughout the body
  • acne
  • itchy rash
  • scales on the skin
  • mood changes
  • swelling of the vagina, vaginal bleeding, or vaginal discharge in girls

Side effect details

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

Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” below refers to sex assigned at birth.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Lupron Depot. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

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 or speaking

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Lupron Depot. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Period changes during or after use of Lupron Depot

You may experience menstrual period changes if you use Lupron Depot for endometriosis or uterine fibroids. With both of these conditions, your period may be irregular, heavy, or painful. When you first start using Lupron Depot, your period may be even heavier due to a spike in estrogen. After a few weeks of use, your period may become lighter, or it may stop completely.

In a clinical study of females with endometriosis, 74% stopped having their period after 1 month of Lupron Depot injections. After 2 months, 98% stopped having their period. Those who did continue having their period had light bleeding or spotting.

In a clinical study of females with uterine fibroids, 61% of those who used Lupron Depot stopped having their period after 1 month of use. After 3 months, 95% stopped having their period.

Once participants stopped using Lupron Depot, their period usually returned within 2 months.

Weight gain or weight loss

Weight changes may occur with Lupron Depot use. One of the most common side effects of females taking Lupron Depot is weight gain. However, some females may experience weight loss instead. In a clinical study, 13% of females taking Lupron Depot for endometriosis experienced changes in weight.

Talk with your doctor if you’re worried about changes in your weight while taking Lupron Depot.

Injection site pain

Some people may experience injection site reactions, including pain, when taking Lupron Depot. In a clinical study of males with advanced prostate cancer, 10.6% to 19.2% experienced pain at the injection site when taking Lupron Depot.

Hair loss

Lupron Depot may cause hair loss in some people. This is likely due to the hormonal changes the drug causes. In a clinical study of males with advanced prostate cancer, less than 5% taking Lupron Depot experienced hair loss. In a clinical study of females taking Lupron Depot for either endometriosis or uterine fibroids, up to 9% experienced hair loss.

It’s not known if the hair that was lost will regrow after you stop taking Lupron Depot. Talk with your doctor if you’re worried about hair loss.

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are a common side effect of Lupron Depot. This is due to hormonal changes the drug causes.

In a clinical study of males with advanced prostate cancer, 57% experienced hot flashes while taking Lupron Depot.

In a clinical study of females with endometriosis, 84% experienced hot flashes while taking Lupron Depot. In comparison, 57% of females who took danazol and 29% of those who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) had hot flashes.

In a clinical study of females with uterine fibroids, 72.9% experienced hot flashes while taking Lupron Depot. In comparison, 17.8% of females who took a placebo had hot flashes.

Talk with your doctor if you’re bothered by hot flashes during your Lupron Depot treatment. They may recommend ways to help ease your discomfort.

Lupron Depot is given as an injection by your doctor or healthcare professional. They will follow instructions provided by the manufacturer when giving you Lupron Depot.

What are the injections sites for Lupron Depot?

Lupron Depot can be injected into the muscle of:

  • the upper arm
  • the area above the buttocks
  • the outer part of the upper thigh

Your doctor will likely rotate where they give you the injection each time to avoid using the same spot two times in a row.

When is it given?

How often you receive a Lupron Depot dose depends on the condition it’s being used to treat:

Your doctor’s office will work with you to make sure the injection appointments fit your schedule. To help make sure you don’t miss an appointment, try setting a reminder on your phone.

The Lupron Depot dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Lupron Depot to treat
  • the dose of Lupron Depot you take
  • other medical conditions you may have

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

Drug forms and strengths

Lupron Depot comes in the following strengths: 3.75 milligrams (mg), 7.5 mg, 11.25 mg, 22.5 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg.

Lupron Depot-Ped (used in children) comes in the following strengths: 7.5 mg, 11.25 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg.

Dosage for endometriosis

For endometriosis, Lupron Depot can be given as:

  • 3.75 mg every 1 month
  • 11.25 mg every 3 months

Dosage for uterine fibroids

For uterine fibroids, Lupron Depot can be given as:

  • 3.75 mg every 1 month
  • 11.25 mg every 3 months

Dosage for advanced prostate cancer

For advanced prostate cancer, Lupron Depot can be given as:

  • 7.5 mg every month
  • 22.5 mg every 3 months
  • 30 mg every 4 months
  • 45 mg every 6 months

Dosage for central precocious puberty

For central precocious puberty, Lupron Depot-Ped can be given as a once-monthly dose that’s based on body weight:

  • 7.5 mg for children 55 lb (25 kg) or less
  • 11.25 mg for children more than 55 lb (25 kg) up to 83 lb (37.5 kg)
  • 15 mg for children more than 83 lb (37.5 kg)

Lupron Depot-Ped can also be given once every 3 months. The dosage options for taking it every 3 months are 11.25 mg or 30 mg.

What if I miss a dose?

Lupron Depot is given as an injection by your doctor or healthcare professional. Your doctor’s office will work with you to make sure the injection appointments fit your schedule. To help make sure you don’t miss an appointment, try setting a reminder on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

How long you use Lupron Depot will depend on the condition it’s being used to treat.

If you’re taking Lupron Depot for advanced prostate cancer, you’ll likely use it long term to ease your prostate cancer symptoms and to stop your prostate cancer tumor(s) from growing.

Lupron Depot is not typically used long term for endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or central precocious puberty. How long it’s used for these conditions depends on how well it relieves symptoms and how severe the condition is. Your doctor can tell you more.

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

The cost you find on WellRx.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.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Lupron Depot. 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 request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Lupron Depot.

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

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Lupron Depot, help is available. Visit Medicine Assistance Tool to find programs that may help lower the cost of your prescription.

Generic version

Lupron Depot only comes as a brand-name medication. It contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. Other brand-name and generic drugs are available that contain leuprolide acetate. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

Generics are considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of generic leuprolide acetate compares with the cost of Lupron Depot, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Lupron Depot and you’re interested in using leuprolide acetate instead, talk with your doctor. They can tell you more about leuprolide acetate and if it can be used to treat your condition. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

Generic leuprolide acetate has different dosing than Lupron Depot, and is only approved for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. You can see the “Lupron Depot vs. leuprolide acetate” section below for more information.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Lupron Depot to treat certain conditions. Lupron Depot may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is prescribed to treat a different condition.

Lupron Depot for endometriosis

Lupron Depot is FDA-approved to treat endometriosis in adults. It can help relieve pain associated with endometriosis. It can also reduce the size of lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside the uterus, which can be painful).

With endometriosis, the lining normally found inside the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus. This may occur in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other areas. These lesions can bleed and break down, resulting in pain and scar tissue. The lesions grow with the help of a hormone called estrogen that’s naturally produced in the body.

Lupron Depot contains the drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, like estrogen. This can help stop lesions from growing.

One of the possible side effects of Lupron Depot is a loss of bone density. Norethindrone acetate is a drug often given with Lupron Depot (when treating endometriosis) to help prevent bone density loss.

Effectiveness for endometriosis

In 6-month clinical studies, females* with endometriosis received either a 3.75-mg injection of Lupron Depot each month or an 800-mg tablet of danazol every day. At the end of the studies, both therapies were found to be effective in relieving pelvic pain and tenderness, painful periods, painful intercourse, and endometrial hardening, as well as reducing endometrial lesion size.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Lupron Depot for fibroids

Lupron Depot is FDA-approved to reduce the size of uterine fibroids in adults. (Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the tissue around the womb.) Lupron Depot is used with iron supplements for this purpose. This combination can help relieve bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure associated with uterine fibroids.

Uterine fibroids can grow as big as a grapefruit and can cause excessive bleeding between periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, and an enlarged uterus.

Because of the excessive bleeding, some people with uterine fibroids develop anemia. This is a condition that occurs when a person loses too much blood or doesn’t have enough iron in their blood. Anemia can make a person feel weak, tired, and cold.

Lupron Depot is usually given with iron supplements for 3 months before surgery to improve anemia associated with uterine fibroids.

The best way to treat uterine fibroids is to remove them, but it can be dangerous to have surgery if you also have anemia. Lupron Depot helps by blocking a hormone (estrogen) that causes the fibroids to bleed.

Effectiveness for fibroids

In clinical studies lasting 3 to 6 months, females* with uterine fibroids received Lupron Depot and iron supplements. Treatment with Lupron Depot and iron led to a reduction in uterine fibroid size, abdominal (belly) pain, pelvic pain and pressure, and vaginal bleeding.

Of the females in the study who had anemia (low levels of red blood cells) associated with uterine fibroids, 75% saw an increase in their red blood cells because of the reduction in vaginal bleeding.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Lupron Depot for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer

Lupron Depot is FDA-approved as a palliative treatment for advanced prostate cancer in adults. (Palliative treatment is given to help relieve the symptoms of a condition and improve quality of life. It’s not used to cure a disease or prolong someone’s life.)

Lupron Depot contains the drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, like testosterone. This can help stop prostate cancer cells from growing.

Effectiveness for advanced prostate cancer

In four clinical studies, males* with advanced prostate cancer were given Lupron Depot in various dosage schedules:

  • 7.5-mg injection every month for 6 months
  • 22.5-mg injection every 3 months for 6 months
  • 30-mg injection every 4 months for 8 months
  • 45-mg injection every 6 months for 1 year

The studies evaluated how much Lupron Depot could lower testosterone levels and stop prostate tumors from growing. In 93.4% to 95% of males, testosterone levels below 50 ng/dL were achieved within 4 weeks of the first injection, regardless of their dosage schedule.

The studies also looked at tumor growth. In 77% to 85% of males taking Lupron Depot, there was no tumor growth during the clinical studies.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Lupron Depot for central precocious puberty

Lupron Depot-Ped is FDA-approved for the treatment of central precocious puberty in children. With this condition, children to begin their sexual development earlier than usual (before age 8 for females* and before age 9 for males*). This can lead to a growth spurt earlier in life. However, children with this condition may stop growing earlier than their peers.

Children with central precocious puberty may be shorter as adults than they would be otherwise. The condition can also lead to emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems due to experiencing hormonal changes earlier than their peers.

Lupron Depot-Ped contains the active drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by stopping the body from releasing certain sex hormones, which will delay puberty while it’s being given.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Effectiveness for central precocious puberty

In a clinical study, 55 children with central precocious puberty were treated with Lupron Depot-Ped. By the end of the first month of treatment, Lupron Depot-Ped successfully reduced sex hormones to prepuberty levels in 96% of the children.

The study also looked at how well Lupron Depot-Ped suppressed the physical signs of puberty. In 66.7% to 90.6% of females,* breast development was suppressed for the first 5 years of treatment. Lupron Depot-Ped also slowed children’s growth rate and rate at which their bones were aging. Once they stopped taking Lupron Depot-Ped, 87.9% of children had their sex hormones returned to normal puberty levels within 6 months.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Off-label uses for Lupron Depot

In addition to the uses listed above, Lupron Depot may be used off-label for other uses. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one use is prescribed for a different one that’s not approved.

Lupron Depot for breast cancer

Lupron Depot is sometimes used off-label to treat breast cancer that’s estrogen responsive and premenopausal. It’s usually given with another breast cancer drug called an aromatase inhibitor. (“Estrogen responsive” means that estrogen causes the cancer to grow.)

Lupron Depot works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, like estrogen, which can help stop certain breast cancer cells from growing.

Lupron Depot for infertility

Lupron Depot is sometimes used off-label as a part of an infertility treatment called the “luteal Lupron protocol.” With this treatment, Lupron Depot is given 7 days before your normal menstrual cycle. It’s used with other hormones to increase the odds of getting pregnant by mimicking ideal hormonal levels.

Lupron Depot is often used with other drugs to help make it more effective.

Drugs used with Lupron Depot when treating endometriosis

Lupron Depot is often used with norethindrone acetate when treating endometriosis. This combination helps prevent bone density loss, which may happen when Lupron Depot is used alone.

Drugs used with Lupron Depot when treating fibroids

Lupron Depot is often used with iron supplements when treating uterine fibroids. This combination can help you recover from anemia, which is caused by excessive bleeding from the fibroids.

Drugs used with Lupron Depot for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer

When treating advanced prostate cancer, Lupron Depot is often used with other drugs to reduce the risk of a tumor flare. These drugs are called anti-androgen medications.

Lupron Depot works by stopping your body from making certain hormones, like testosterone. When you first start taking Lupron Depot, your body may respond by producing too much testosterone. This can have negative side effects such as bone pain and paralysis. Lowering the risk of a testosterone flare can help lower your risk for these side effects.

Anti-androgen medications can be given with Lupron Depot or before you start Lupron Depot. Examples of these medications include bicalutamide (Casodex), nilutamide (Nilandron), and flutamide (Eulexin).

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Lupron Depot.

Is Lupron Depot a chemotherapy drug?

No, Lupron Depot is not a chemotherapy drug. It works differently than chemotherapy drugs.

Chemotherapy drugs are sometimes used to treat certain kinds of cancers. They work by killing rapidly growing cells in your body. Cancer cells are usually fast-growing cells, so they’re affected by chemotherapy. However, some healthy cells in your body are also fast-growing cells. These healthy cells can also be affected by chemotherapy drugs.

Lupron Depot contains the drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, such as estrogen or testosterone. This can help stop certain cells from growing.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking Lupron Depot?

There aren’t any known withdrawal symptoms after stopping Lupron Depot. (Withdrawal refers to symptoms that occur when you stop taking a drug your body is dependent on.) But for some people, their condition may worsen if they stop using treatment.

Don’t stop treatment with Lupron Depot unless you’re directed to do so by your doctor. Your doctor will continue to schedule injection appointments for as long as you should be using Lupron Depot.

Will Lupron Depot affect my ability to get pregnant or get my partner pregnant?

Lupron Depot may temporarily decrease fertility in adults. (Fertility is the biologic ability to conceive a child with a partner.) However, once Lupron Depot treatment ends, this decrease in fertility typically goes away after a period of time. And use of Lupron Depot-Ped in children isn’t known to affect fertility long term.

In some cases, Lupron Depot is prescribed off-label as a part of an infertility treatment called the “luteal Lupron protocol.” (See the “Lupron Depot uses” section above to learn more.)

For more details about Lupron Depot and fertility, see the “Lupron Depot and pregnancy” section below.

Does Lupron Depot cause sexual side effects in men or women taking the drug?

Yes, Lupron Depot may cause sexual side effects. This can happen because of the hormonal changes that occur when taking Lupron Depot.

In males* with advanced prostate cancer taking Lupron Depot, sexual side effects may include reduced sex drive. In a clinical study, this side effect occurred in 5.4% of males taking Lupron Depot. Some males also experienced erectile dysfunction and testicular shrinkage while taking Lupron Depot.

In females* taking Lupron Depot for endometriosis or uterine fibroids, sexual side effects may include reduced sex drive and vaginal dryness. It’s not known how many females experienced these side effects in clinical studies.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Can I take Lupron Depot if I have heart disease?

Possibly. Lupron Depot may raise your risk of having a heart attack or experiencing sudden death or a stroke. This risk is higher in people who have existing heart disease. If you already have heart disease, your doctor will likely evaluate your condition before prescribing you Lupron Depot. If you’re able to take Lupron Depot, they’ll monitor you closely during your treatment to make sure your heart problems don’t get worse.

Lupron Depot contains the drug leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. It works by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, like estrogen and testosterone.

These hormones play key roles in many of our bodily functions. However, when the hormones are out of balance, they can cause negative side effects. For example, testosterone signals prostate cancer cells to grow. Lupron Depot works by stopping the production of testosterone in your body. This can help stop prostate cancer cells from growing.

With endometriosis, estrogen affects lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside of the uterus) by stimulating them to bleed like uterine tissue. This is often uncomfortable and painful.

Estrogen also can cause uterine fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the tissue around the womb) to develop and grow. By blocking estrogen production, Lupron Depot helps reduce pain and can shrink or get rid of lesions and uterine fibroids.

Lupron Depot-Ped is used for central precocious puberty, a condition in which a child experiences the effects of puberty earlier than usual. Lupron Depot-Ped works by blocking certain hormones that make children’s bodies undergo puberty. This delays puberty as long as the child uses the medication.

How long does it take to work?

Lupron Depot begins working right away in your body. However, it usually takes about 2 to 4 weeks to see the full effects of the treatment, such as symptom relief.

There are no known interactions between Lupron Depot and alcohol. However, if you drink alcohol regularly, you may have a higher risk for bone density loss. When used long term, Lupron Depot may also reduce your bone density if not taken with other treatments that can help prevent this side effect. Bone density loss may lead to a higher risk of fractures and breaks.

If you drink alcohol regularly, talk with your doctor about the risk of bone density loss with Lupron Depot.

It’s not known if Lupron Depot interacts with other medications or supplements.

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.

Lupron Depot may affect the results of certain lab tests.

Lupron Depot and other medications

There haven’t been any studies done to look at whether Lupron Depot can interact with other medications. However, it’s possible that Lupron Depot may interact with other medications.

Before taking Lupron Depot, 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.

Lupron Depot and herbs and supplements

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

Lupron Depot and foods

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

Lupron Depot and lab tests

You may have reduced levels of certain hormones in your body during your treatment with Lupron Depot. If you have any lab tests that look for hormones, the results of the tests may be incorrect.

It’s recommended that you wait 3 months until after you’re done with Lupron Depot treatment before having these tests. This way, the results are less likely to be incorrect. Talk with your doctor about any tests you have scheduled while taking Lupron Depot to ensure your lab results will be accurate.

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

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is prescribed to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for endometriosis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat endometriosis include:

Alternatives for fibroids

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat uterine fibroids include:

  • hormonal intrauterine devices like levonorgestrel (Mirena)
  • hormonal birth control like combination oral contraceptive pills
  • hormonal injections like medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera)
  • oral progestin pills like medroxyprogesterone (Provera), dienogest (Visanne), dydrogesterone (Duphaston)
  • goserelin (Zoladex)
  • naferelin (Synarel)
  • triptorelin (Decapeptyl, Gonapeptyl)

Alternatives for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used for palliative treatment (symptom relief) of advanced prostate cancer include:

Alternatives for central precocious puberty

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat central precocious puberty include:

  • triptorelin (Triptodur)
  • histrelin (Supprelin LA)

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

Ingredients

Lupron Depot and Eligard both contain leuprolide acetate, which belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.

Uses

Lupron Depot and Eligard are both FDA-approved as palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults. (Palliative treatment is given to help relieve the symptoms of a condition and improve quality of life.)

Lupron Depot is also FDA approved to:

  • relieve pain associated with endometriosis and reduce the size of lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside the uterus) from this condition in adults
  • reduce the size of uterine fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the tissue around the womb) in adults, which helps relieve bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure

Another form of the drug, Lupron Depot-Ped, is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children. (See “What’s Lupron Depot-Ped?” above to learn more.)

Drug forms and administration

Lupron Depot and Eligard are both given as an injection by your doctor. Lupron Depot is injected into the muscle of the upper arm, the area above the buttocks, or the outer part of the upper thigh. Eligard is injected under the skin into the abdomen (belly), upper buttocks, or anywhere that has enough fatty tissue.

Side effects and risks

Lupron Depot and Eligard both contain leuprolide acetate. Therefore, these medications can cause similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain examples of mild side effects that can occur with Lupron Depot (when used for advanced prostate cancer), with Eligard, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Lupron Depot:
    • body pain
    • weight gain
    • acne
    • depression or other emotional changes, like anxiety
    • joint pain
    • flu-like syndrome (symptoms similar to those caused by the flu, such as fever, chills, headache, and body aches)
  • Can occur with Eligard:
    • weakness or lack of energy
  • Can occur with both Lupron Depot and Eligard:
    • injection site reactions
    • nausea
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • trouble urinating
    • hot flashes
    • sweating
    • erectile dysfunction

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Lupron Depot (when used for advanced prostate cancer) or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Lupron Depot and Eligard have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults.

Lupron Depot and Eligard haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies, but studies have found both of these forms of leuprolide acetate to be effective as palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults.

Costs

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

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

* A generic form of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Lupron Depot, is available. See the “Lupron Depot vs. leuprolide acetate” section below for details.

Lupron Depot and Zoladex are prescribed for similar uses. Below are details of how these medications are alike and different.

Ingredients

Both Lupron Depot and Zoladex contain drugs that belong to a class of medications called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Lupron Depot contains the active drug leuprolide acetate, and Zoladex contains the active drug goserelin.

Uses

Lupron Depot and Zoladex are both FDA-approved for the following uses:

  • as palliative treatment (symptom relief) of advanced prostate cancer
  • to relieve pain associated with endometriosis and to reduce the size of lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside the uterus) from this condition

In addition, Lupron Depot is approved to treat uterine fibroids. Lupron Depot-Ped is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children. (See “What’s Lupron Depot-Ped?” above to learn more.)

Additionally, Zoladex is approved for palliative treatment of breast cancer. It’s also approved in combination with flutamide to treat prostate cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the prostate.

Drug forms and administration

Lupron Depot is given as an injection into the muscle. It’s injected by your doctor into the muscle of the upper arm, the area above the buttocks, or the outer part of the upper thigh.

Zoladex comes as an implant that’s placed under the skin of your abdomen (belly) by your doctor. For advanced prostate cancer treatment, a new Zoladex implant is inserted every 12 weeks.

Side effects and risks

Lupron Depot and Zoladex have some similar side effects and others that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain examples of mild side effects that can occur with Lupron Depot, with Zoladex, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Lupron Depot:
    • body pain
    • weight gain
    • trouble urinating
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • joint pain
    • flu-like syndrome (symptoms similar to those caused by the flu, such as fever, chills, headache, and body aches)
  • Can occur with Zoladex:
    • increased oil on the skin
    • swelling of the hands and feet
    • weakness or lack of energy
    • changes in breast size in females* (decrease or increase)
    • breast shrinkage in females
  • Can occur with both Lupron Depot and Zoladex:
    • depression or other emotional changes, like anxiety
    • acne
    • vaginal irritation or inflammation (swelling) in females
    • hot flashes
    • nausea
    • injection site reactions
    • sweating
    • reduced sex drive
    • erectile dysfunction
    • period changes or not having a period in females

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Lupron Depot, with Zoladex, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Lupron Depot:
    • convulsions (violent shaking, seizures)
    • estrogen spike with endometriosis
  • Can occur with Zoladex:
    • high calcium levels
    • injection site injury, including damage to the blood vessels near the injection site
  • Can occur with both Lupron Depot and Zoladex:
    • tumor flare

Effectiveness

Lupron Depot and Zoladex are both FDA-approved for the following uses:

  • as palliative treatment (symptom relief) of advanced prostate cancer
  • to relieve pain associated with endometriosis and to reduce the size of lesions (uterine tissue that forms outside the uterus) from this condition

The use of Lupron Depot and Zoladex in treating advanced prostate cancer has been directly compared in a clinical study. Both drugs were found to be somewhat effective in achieving chemical castration (virtually no testosterone in the blood) after 3 months of treatment.

Of the people who took 3.75 mg of Lupron Depot, 26.3% did not achieve chemical castration. Of the people taking 7.5 mg of Lupron Depot, 25% did not achieve chemical castration. Of the people who took Zoladex, 35% did not achieve medical castration.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies for the treatment of endometriosis. However, studies have found both Lupron Depot, Zoladex 3.6, and Zoladex 10.8 to be effective for reducing the size of lesions and relieving pain associated with endometriosis.

Costs

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

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Lupron Depot costs significantly more than Zoladex. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

* A generic form of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Lupron Depot, is available. See the “Lupron Depot vs. leuprolide acetate” section below for details.

Lupron Depot is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. Lupron Depot doesn’t come in a generic form. However, leuprolide acetate is available as a generic version of Lupron, which is a discontinued brand-name drug.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug.

Both Lupron Depot and leuprolide acetate belong to a drug class called gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists. They work by blocking your body from creating certain hormones, such as estrogen or testosterone. This can stop certain cells from growing, which can help treat certain conditions that are affected by hormones.

Lupron Depot and leuprolide acetate are both approved for palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Lupron Depot is also approved for:

  • management of endometriosis, which includes reduction in endometriotic lesions and relief of pain associated with endometriosis
  • preoperative hematologic improvement of uterine fibroids when taken in combination with supplemental iron

Another form of this drug, Lupron Depot-Ped, is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children.

Lupron Depot is given every 1, 3, 4, or 6 months as an intramuscular injection. It’s injected by a healthcare professional. Leuprolide acetate is a daily subcutaneous injection that you can self-inject after you’ve received training from a healthcare professional.

Your doctor or a pharmacist can provide more information about how generic leuprolide acetate and Lupron Depot compare.

You may wonder how Lupron Depot compares with the brand-name drug Depo-Provera. Lupron Depot contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. Depo-Provera contains the active ingredient medroxyprogesterone acetate.

Lupron Depot is FDA-approved for:

Another form of this drug, Lupron Depot-Ped, is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children.

However, Depo-Provera is only approved to prevent pregnancy. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your birth control needs while using Lupron Depot. They can also give you more information about how these two drugs compare.

You might like to learn about the similarities and differences between Lupron Depot and Orilissa. Lupron Depot contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. However, Orilissa contains the drug elagolix.

Lupron Depot is FDA-approved to treat:

Another form of this drug, Lupron Depot-Ped, is approved to treat central precocious puberty in children.

Orilissa is FDA-approved to treat moderate to severe pain caused by endometriosis in adults. For more information about Orilissa, you can see the drug’s prescribing information. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist for details about how Orilissa and Lupron Depot compare.

Lupron Depot should not be used by people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Lupron Depot may cause harm to a developing fetus if used during pregnancy. In animal studies, Lupron Depot was given to pregnant rabbits. It caused negative side effects in the offspring (such as pregnancy loss and low birth weights). This was true even at very low doses.

Leuprolide, the active ingredient in Lupron Depot, is sometimes prescribed off-label for people who are undergoing fertility treatments. It’s used as part of a complex hormone treatment plan that includes other medications. Lupron Depot should be used for this purpose only as recommended by your doctor.

Lupron Depot and fertility

Lupron Depot may temporarily decrease fertility. (Fertility is the biologic ability to conceive a child with a partner.) However, once Lupron Depot treatment ends, this decrease in fertility typically goes away after a period of time. And use of Lupron Depot-Ped in children isn’t known to affect fertility long term.

In animal studies of leuprolide acetate (the active drug in Lupron Depot), animals given the drug had shrinkage of their reproductive organs and decreased ability to reproduce. These changes went away after the treatment ended.

Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your fertility with Lupron Depot treatment.

Lupron Depot is not 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 Lupron Depot.

It’s not known if Lupron Depot passes into breast milk. If you’re breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Lupron Depot.

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

  • Heart problems. Lupron Depot may raise your risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, sudden death, or stroke. If you already have heart disease or a history of a heart attack or stroke, your doctor may monitor you more closely while you’re taking Lupron Depot.
  • Diabetes. Lupron Depot may raise your blood sugar, which may put you at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If you have a history of prediabetes or diabetes, Lupron Depot may worsen your diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how often you need to monitor your blood sugar levels when taking Lupron Depot.
  • Depression. Lupron Depot may make depression worse. If you have a history of depression, talk with your doctor about it before starting Lupron Depot.
  • Low bone density. Lupron Depot may cause loss of bone density when used to treat endometriosis, especially if it’s not taken with norethindrone acetate. If you have a personal or family history of low bone density, you may have a higher risk of losing bone density from Lupron Depot. Using tobacco or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can also raise your risk for bone density loss from Lupron Depot. Talk with your doctor about ways to lower your risk of bone density loss when taking Lupron Depot.
  • Pregnancy. Lupron Depot should not be used by people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. For more information, see the “Lupron Depot and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Lupron Depot passes into breast milk. For more information, see the “Lupron Depot and breastfeeding” section above.

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

Receiving more than the recommended dosage of Lupron Depot can lead to serious side effects.

You’ll receive Lupron Depot as an injection from your doctor, so they’ll make sure you’re given the correct dose.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • feeling slow or sluggish
  • excessive scratching

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve been given too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Lupron Depot is indicated for the following:

  • palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer
  • management of endometriosis, which includes reduction in endometriotic lesions and relief of pain associated with endometriosis
  • preoperative hematologic improvement of patients with uterine fibroids when taken in combination with supplemental iron

Lupron Depot-Ped is indicated for the treatment of central precocious puberty in children.

Mechanism of action

Lupron Depot and Lupron Depot-Ped contain the active ingredient leuprolide acetate, which is a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist. It works by inhibition of gonadotropin secretion by reducing circulating concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This results in castration-level testosterone concentrations in males*, postmenopausal levels of estrogen concentration in females*, and prepubescent LH and FSH levels in children.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Following intramuscular injection, circulating plasma leuprolide appears in the plasma at around 4 hours. The peak concentration timing varies depending on the dose of Lupron delivered and the formulation. Leuprolide appears to be released at a constant rate through 4, 12, 16, and 24 weeks, depending on the dose.

When given intravenously, the terminal elimination half-life of leuprolide is approximately 3 hours. Following administration of Lupron Depot, less than 5% of the dose is recovered in the urine.

Contraindications

Lupron Depot is contraindicated in people who have a known history of hypersensitivity to Lupron Depot and its excipients. It’s also contraindicated in people who have a hypersensitivity to any other GnRH agonist.

Lupron Depot is contraindicated in people with undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding, people who are or may become pregnant, or people who are breastfeeding.

Storage

Store the Lupron Depot administration kit at 77°F (25°C) in a cool, dry place. Excursions of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C) are permitted. Lupron Depot should not be refrigerated.

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 another 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.