How Does Eligard Work?As mentioned, Eligard contains a synthetic form of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone found naturally in the body. GnRH controls the release of two other hormones from the pituitary gland, which is a tiny gland located beneath the brain: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones stimulate production of testosterone in the testicles.
Normally, when GnRH is released by the body, LH and FSH levels increase and more testosterone is produced. Because Eligard is similar to GnRH, an initial rise in testosterone levels is seen when the medication is first given. However, after two to four weeks, Eligard overstimulates the pituitary gland so that it stops releasing LH and FSH. As a result, the testicles do not make as much testosterone.
Testosterone stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells. By reducing testosterone levels, Eligard slows down or prevents this growth, which can help reduce the symptoms of prostate cancer.
When and How to Take ItSome general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Eligard include the following:
- This medication is given as an injection just under the skin (subcutaneously). It may be given every one, three, four, or six months depending on the particular strength used.
- Eligard is given in the fatty layer of tissue just beneath skin, usually on the stomach, arms, or legs. A different site should be chosen for each injection.
- This medication is usually given by a healthcare provider. If you (or a caregiver) will be giving the injection, your healthcare provider should show you exactly how to use it. Make sure you understand the directions and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
- Do not use Eligard if it is cloudy or contains particles.
- Allow Eligard to come to room temperature before using it. It must be used within 30 minutes of mixing.
- For this drug to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not stop using this medicine because you feel better.