Leuprolide is used to treat advanced prostate cancer in men. It is not a cure. Most types of prostate cancer need the male hormone testosterone to grow and spread. Leuprolide works by reducing the amount of testosterone that the body makes. This helps slow or stop the growth of cancer cells and helps relieve symptoms such as painful/difficult urination. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment.
Leuprolide is also used to stop early puberty (precocious puberty) in children. It helps to delay sexual development (e.g., growth of the breasts/testicles) and the start of menstrual periods. It also helps slow down the rate of early bone growth so that the chances for reaching normal adult height are increased. Leuprolide works by decreasing the amount of sex hormones that a child's body makes (estrogen in girls, testosterone in boys).
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
In children, the dosage is based on weight and response to therapy. The doctor should consider stopping treatment before age 11 for girls and age 12 for boys. Consult the doctor for details.
If you are directed to inject this medication yourself, learn all preparation and usage instructions in the product package. Learn how to store and discard needles and medical supplies safely. If any of the information is unclear, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Change the location of the injection site each time to avoid problem areas under the skin.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day.
Inform your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.
Mild burning/pain/bruising at the injection site, hot flashes (flushing), increased sweating, night sweats, tiredness, headache, upset stomach, breast changes, acne, joint/muscle aches, trouble sleeping, reduced sexual interest, vaginal discomfort/dryness, vaginal bleeding, swelling of the ankles/feet, increased urination at night, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Infrequently in men, shrinking of the testicles, breast tenderness/swelling, and reduced sexual interest/ability may also occur as a result of lowered testosterone levels. Talk to your doctor if these effects occur.
In girls, when this medication is used regularly, it is expected that the menstrual period will stop (or decrease to light bleeding/spotting during the first 2 months). Tell your doctor promptly if regular periods continue after 2 months of treatment with leuprolide.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
During the first few weeks of treatment, your hormone levels will actually increase before they decrease. This is a normal response by your body to this drug. This may result in a temporary increase in your symptoms for a few weeks.
In men, an increase in testosterone levels at the beginning of treatment may sometimes result in new or worsening symptoms for a few weeks. If you have prostate cancer that has spread to the spine or caused urinary blockage, you may require closer monitoring by your doctor, especially when you first start treatment. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects: bone pain, numbness/tingling/weakness of the arms/legs, blood in the urine, painful/difficult urination, unusual weakness, inability to move.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, thoughts of suicide, mood swings, aggression in children), new/worsening bone pain (in adults), easily broken bones (in adults), increased thirst/urination.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest/jaw/left arm pain, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, seizures, fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
Rarely, a very serious problem with your pituitary gland (pituitary apoplexy) may occur, usually in the first hour to 2 weeks after your first injection. Get medical help right away if any of these very serious side effects occur: sudden severe headache, sudden severe mental/mood changes (e.g., severe confusion, difficulty concentrating), vision changes, severe vomiting.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using leuprolide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as the preservative benzyl alcohol), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
In adults, leuprolide may weaken your bones and increase your risk for bone loss (osteoporosis) if used for a long time. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have osteoporosis or if you have any of the following risk factors for osteoporosis: long-term alcohol use, smoking, family history of osteoporosis and broken bones, use of certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids such as prednisone, certain anti-seizure drugs such as phenytoin).
Leuprolide may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using leuprolide, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using leuprolide safely.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above).
Leuprolide must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control. Non-hormonal birth control methods (e.g., condoms, diaphragm with spermicide) are recommended during treatment with leuprolide.
It is not known if leuprolide passes into breast milk. Because the effects of leuprolide on a nursing infant are unknown, breast-feeding is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., hormone levels, PSA blood test for men, bone tests, blood glucose) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is very important that you do not miss any doses. However, if you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Protect from light and freezing. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised August 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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