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All about: Eligard

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Generic Name: leuprolide (LOO pro lide)
Brand Names: Eligard, Lupron, Viadur

What is leuprolide?

Leuprolide is related to a naturally occurring hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH influences the release of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the body.

Leuprolide is used to reduce the amount of testosterone or estrogen in the body. It is used for conditions such as cancer of the prostate, endometriosis (growth of uterine lining outside of the womb), uterine fibroids, and early puberty (before 8 years of age in females and 9 years of age in males).

Leuprolide may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about leuprolide?

Leuprolide can be administered as an intramuscular injection (into muscle), a subcutaneous injection (under the skin), as a depot injection (a shot given periodically at a doctor's office), or as an implant. Your healthcare provider will administer the depot injection or place the implant under the skin. If you are injecting leuprolide at home, your doctor or nurse will give you detailed instructions on how and where to inject the medication. Do not administer an injection if you are unsure how to properly do so, how much to inject, or how often to inject the medication. Call your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to go over the instructions with you.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using leuprolide?

Some forms of leuprolide (e.g., Lupron injection) contain the preservative benzyl alcohol. Do not use leuprolide without first talking to your doctor if you have an allergy to benzyl alcohol.

Before using leuprolide, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions. You may not be able to use leuprolide, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring.

Leuprolide is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that leuprolide is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether leuprolide passes into breast milk. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use leuprolide?

Use leuprolide exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain them to you.

Leuprolide can be administered as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin), as an intramuscular (into muscle), depot injection (a shot given periodically at a doctor's office), or as an implant. Your healthcare provider will administer the depot injection or place the implant under the skin. If you are injecting leuprolide at home, your doctor or nurse will give you detailed instructions on how and where to inject the medication. Do not administer an injection if you are unsure how to properly do so, how much to inject, or how often to inject the medication. Call your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to go over the instructions with you.

Leuprolide is injected daily, monthly, every 3 months, every 4 months or every 6 months depending on the formulation being used and the condition being treated. Different formulations of leuprolide are not interchangeable. For example, one-third of the 3-month dose cannot be used as a 1-month dose.

The leuprolide implant (Viadur) is placed under the skin of the upper, inner arms by your healthcare provider and delivers medication continuously for 12 months. The implant must be removed by your healthcare provider after 12 months.

It is important to use leuprolide regularly to get the most benefit.

There may be an increase in symptoms during the first days or weeks of treatment with leuprolide. This effect will diminish with continued treatment.

Your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with leuprolide to monitor progress and side effects.

Store Lupron vials for injection in the original carton, protected from light, until they are ready to be used. Store the vials at room temperature (below 77 degrees Fahrenheit) or in the refrigerator. Do not allow the medication to freeze if you store it in the refrigerator.

Lupron depot formulations can be stored at room temperature and should be used immediately after mixing. Eligard should be stored in the refrigerator between 30 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 and 8 degrees Celsius). The product should be allowed to reach room temperature before using. Once mixed, the product must be used within 30 minutes.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Inject the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and use only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call your doctor if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a leuprolide overdose are not known but might include decreased activity, difficulty breathing, and irritation at the injection site.

What should I avoid while using leuprolide?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activities while using leuprolide. Follow any special instructions given by your doctor.

After insertion of the implantable form of leuprolide (Viadur), keep the site clean and dry for 24 hours. Do not bathe or swim for 24 hours. Avoid heavy lifting and physical activity for 48 hours and avoid bumping the site for a few days. After the cut has healed, normal activity can be resumed.

Leuprolide side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop using leuprolide and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • difficulty urinating;

  • bone pain; or

  • numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or arms.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience

  • hot flashes or sweating;

  • decreased libido or impotence;

  • lack of energy;

  • depression;

  • breast enlargement;

  • nausea or vomiting;

  • constipation;

  • weakness;

  • dizziness;

  • headache; or

  • redness, burning, itching, or swelling at the injection site.

Any woman using leuprolide who experiences menstrual bleeding during treatment should contact her healthcare provider.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect leuprolide?

It is not known whether leuprolide will interact with other medicines. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about leuprolide written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Leuprolide is available with a prescription under the brand names Lupron, Viadur, and Eligard in injectable and depot formulations. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01. Revision Date: 6/20/05 8:56:18 AM.

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