Lupron Depot and Lupron Depot-Ped are a type of hormone therapy. This medication belongs to a group of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.
GnRH agonists work by activating the pituitary gland in your brain to release certain hormones. In turn, these hormones cause your reproductive system to release a surge of sex hormones. (These are mainly testosterone in males* and estrogen in females.*)
This surge signals your body to stop making the sex hormones. Ultimately, in males, Lupron Depot causes the testicles to stop making testosterone. And in females, the drug causes the ovaries to stop making estrogen and progesterone.
Lupron Depot and Lupron Depot-Ped are used to treat certain conditions that may improve when the body stops making these hormones. These conditions are described below.
* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.
Lupron Depot for prostate cancer
Lupron Depot is used for the palliative treatment of prostate cancer that’s advanced in adults. (Advanced means the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to other areas of the body.) Palliative treatment eases symptoms of a disease but isn’t meant to cure the disease.
Lupron Depot is used to stop the body from making hormones. This includes testosterone, a hormone that helps prostate cancer cells grow and spread. By reducing testosterone in the body, Lupron Depot may help slow the cancer’s growth. This may ease the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, such as painful urination.
Lupron Depot for endometriosis
Lupron Depot is used to treat endometriosis in adults.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle affect the misplaced tissue, causing symptoms such as pelvic pain and heavy periods.
Lupron Depot works to treat endometriosis by stopping the body from making hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. It can help relieve pain and reduce the size of endometrium-like tissues outside of the uterus.
Lupron Depot may be used as a first treatment to manage endometriosis symptoms. For this purpose, the drug is prescribed together with norethindrone acetate.
Use with norethindrone acetate
Norethindrone acetate is a type of hormone replacement therapy called a progestin. It replaces progesterone, a hormone that Lupron Depot stops the ovaries from making. Taking norethindrone acetate reduces your risk of certain side effects of Lupron Depot, such as bone loss.
But there’s a limitation on Lupron Depot’s use with norethindrone acetate. The total duration of treatment of Lupron Depot with norethindrone acetate is limited to 12 months.
Lupron Depot for uterine fibroids
Lupron Depot is used to treat uterine fibroids in adults.
Uterine fibroids are abnormal, noncancerous growths on or in the uterus. Common symptoms include heavy periods, heavy bleeding between periods, and pain in the belly. Heavy bleeding often leads to anemia in people with fibroids. (A person with anemia has a low red blood cell level.)
Lupron Depot works to treat fibroids by stopping the body from making hormones that cause menstrual bleeding. The drug can help reduce the size of uterine fibroids and stop the excessive menstrual bleeding.
For this use, Lupron Depot is prescribed for 3 months together with an iron supplement. After 3 months, you’ll likely have surgery to remove the fibroids, as long as your red blood cell level has increased.
There’s a limitation on Lupron Depot’s use for fibroids. For this condition, the drug isn’t meant to be used together with norethindrone acetate.
Lupron Depot-Ped for early-onset puberty
Lupron Depot-Ped is used to treat early-onset puberty in children. Early-onset puberty is also called central precocious puberty.
Puberty is the process of sexual development through which a child physically matures into an adult. Early-onset puberty occurs when this process begins too early (before age 8 years in females or before age 9 years in males).
The signs of early-onset puberty are the same as those seen when puberty occurs in older children and adolescents. Shorter height and psychological problems are common symptoms.
Lupron Depot-Ped works by stopping the body from making sex hormones. This stops or reverses the signs of early-onset puberty. When a child stops taking the medication, their body will resume making hormones, and puberty will continue.