Patient Education Quick Reference Guide Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group Phone Number: 925-677-5041

Uses For This Medication
  • Leuprolide is used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer.
  • Leuprolide is also used to treat women with endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
  • This medication may also be given for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
  How This Medication Works Leuprolide belongs to a group of medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. Leuprolide is a man-made version of a naturally occurring GnRH. Leuprolide is used to decrease the body’s production of hormones, specifically follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Reducing the production of these hormones leads to a decrease in the testosterone, which is produced in the testes and the estrogen that is produced in the ovaries. When testosterone is reduced, the prostate cancer cells, which need testosterone to grow, will not be able to grow. Reducing estrogen levels helps to improve the symptoms as well as to treat both endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Benefits of This Medication In men with prostate cancer, leuprolide may help to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells in the prostate and help to relieve some of the symptoms of the disease (such as pain and/or difficulty urinating). In women with endometriosis, leuprolide lowers a woman’s hormone levels which decreases endometrial growths and provides symptom relief. In women with uterine fibroids, leuprolide given in combination with iron, reduces the excessive bleeding due to fibroids and helps to increase the low red blood cell levels (anemia). Who Should Not Take This Medication You should not take this medication if you:
  • Are allergic to GnRH agonists, leuprolide or any of its components.
  • Have undiagnosed or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Certain formulations of this medication are not safe for use in women.
  Precautions to be Aware of Before Taking This Medication

Miscellaneous precautions

  • In men with prostate cancer, during the first few weeks of leuprolide therapy, it can cause a temporary worsening of symptoms such as an increase in bone pain and/or urinary symptoms. This can be of concern in patients who have metastatic or advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the spine and/or is causing urinary obstruction. Your doctor of healthcare provider will monitor you carefully when leuprolide is first started. In addition, if you develop worsening urinary symptoms, temporary weakness and/or tingling in the arms and/or legs, you should let your doctor or healthcare provider know right away.
  • In both men and women, leuprolide reduces the levels of hormones in the body. As a result, this can lead to a loss of bone mineral density. If you have a history of chronic alcohol and/or tobacco use, a family history of osteoporosis, or are taking medications that can also negatively affect bone density, you should talk with your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she will need to determine if it is safe for you to take leuprolide and whether you would need medications to help reduce or minimize the bone loss that can occur with leuprolide.
  • This medication can cause hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium) during the first few weeks of treatment, especially in patients who have cancer which has metastasized, or spread, to the bone. If you experience symptoms such as sleepiness, constipation, frequent urination, and/or nausea/vomiting, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider. Your doctor or healthcare provider may check your blood regularly while you are on this medication to monitor for this possible problem.
  • Rarely, this medication can cause a syndrome called pituitary apoplexy. This is more likely to occur in patients who have a pituitary adenoma. Be sure to tell your doctor or healthcare provider if you have been diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma. Sudden headache, vomiting, visual changes, altered mental status (such as confusion, memory loss, or mood changes), are a few of the symptoms that patient may experience.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Precautions
  • This medication may cause fetal harm. When taking this medication, you should use effective, non-hormonal birth control methods (condoms, diaphragms, IUD’s) to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal birth control (pills, patches, rings, implants, and injections) should not be used. In addition, your menstrual periods may stop altogether while you are receiving leuprolide. Tell your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you or your spouse/partner becomes pregnant.
  • It is not known whether this medication is found or excreted in breast milk. Since many medications are excreted in breast milk and because this medication can cause serious harmful reactions in infants, breastfeeding should be avoided.
  • Many anti-cancer therapies can cause sterility. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you want to have children in the future.
  Medication and Food Interactions Before using this medication, tell your doctor or healthcare provider of all prescription or over-the- counter products you are taking, including dietary supplements or vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without your doctor or healthcare provider’s approval.
  • There are no known interactions with this medication.
  Side Effects
  • All medications can cause side effects. However, not all patients will experience these side effects. In addition, other side effects not listed can also occur in some patients. You should call your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns while you are on this medication.
  • You should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any side effect(s) which don’t go away, worsen, are serious in nature, or are worrisome to you.
  • Side effects can occur when leuprolide is given alone or together with other chemotherapy medications. The side effects listed below are those reported in patients who were treated with leuprolide alone.

More common side effects

  • Temporary increase in urinary symptoms and/or pain during first weeks of treatment (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
  • Hot flashes, sweating
  • Impotence, decreased libido
  • Stopping of menstrual periods in women

Less common side effects

  • Injection site reactions
  • Breast tenderness, changes in breast size
  • Vaginal dryness in women

Rare side effects

This is not a complete list of the rare side effects reported with leuprolide. For a complete list, please talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about reviewing a copy of the package insert.
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Changes in emotional state (which can include worsening of depression and/or memory disorders), difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of bone density (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
  • Breast enlargement in men
  • Swelling in legs and feet
  • Hypertension (increase in blood pressure)
  How To Take This Medication
  • This medication is usually given by injection into a muscle (intramuscular, IM). The six month and yearly formulations of leuprolide are given by an injection under the skin (subcutaneous or SC injection). The dose and frequency of administration will be different depending on which formulation of leuprolide your doctor determines is best for you. Leuprolide can be given monthly, every three months, every four months, every six months, or yearly.
  • In the unlikely event of an overdose of this medication contact your doctor, your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or emergency services immediately.

Proper Storage

  • It is unlikely that you will need to store this medication. However, in the event that you do, the unopened containers should be stored at controlled room temperature.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children or pets.
  • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider how to dispose of any medication that you no longer use.