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LeuprolideGeneric Name: Leuprolide
Trade Names: EligardTM, Lupron®, Lupron Depot®, ViadurTM
Drug Type: Leuprolide is a hormone therapy. It is classified as an "LHRH agonist." For more detail, see "How this drug works" section below).
What this drug is used for:
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How this drug is given:
Important things to remember about the side effects of leuprolide:
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking leuprolide:
These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%) of patients receiving leuprolide:
Leuprolide may cause short-term (within first 2 weeks of treatment) increases in testosterone serum levels. When this is used for prostate cancer the resulting "tumor flare" can cause temporary increase of bone pain, swelling of the prostate that blocks urine flow or swelling around tumor in the spine causing compression of the spinal cord. If you are noticing increased weakness, numbness or tingling in arms or legs, or difficulty with urination, report these symptoms to your health care provider immediately.
Rare but significant side effects may include heart problems such as congestive heart failure (1%) or problems with blood clots (1%). Blood clots can lead to pulmonary embolus or stroke - potentially life-threatening conditions.
Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
Monitoring and testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking leuprolide, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) may also be ordered by your doctor.
How this drug works:
Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by glands in the body, which enter the bloodstream and cause effects in other tissues. For example, the hormone testosterone, made in the testicles and is responsible for male characteristics such as deepening voice and increased body hair. The use of hormone therapy to treat cancer is based on the observation that receptors for specific hormones that are needed for cell growth are on the surface of some tumor cells. Hormone therapy can work by stopping the production of a certain hormone, blocking hormone receptors, or substituting chemically similar agents for the active hormone, which cannot be used by the tumor cell. Different types of hormone therapies are categorized by their function and/or the type of hormone that is affected.
Leuprolide is classified as a leutinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist. HRH agonists work by telling the pituitary gland located in the brain to stop producing leutinizing hormone, which (in men) stimulates the testicles to release testosterone and (in women) stimulates the ovaries to release estrogen. The drug does not have a direct effect on the cancer, only on the testicles or ovaries. The resulting lack of testosterone (in men) and estrogen (in women) interferes with stimulating cell growth in testosterone or estrogen dependent cancer cells.
In treatment of prostate cancer LHRH agonists are often used together with anti-androgen medications. Anti-androgens are substances that block the effects of testosterone. Cancer of the prostate depends on the male hormone testosterone for its growth. If the amount of testosterone is reduced it is possible to slow down or shrink the cancer.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 09:49|