When using Eligard to treat prostate cancer, you will receive an injection every one, three, four, or six months, depending on what your healthcare provider recommends. The drug is injected subcutaneously, and you can administer the injection yourself, although most people receive it at their healthcare provider's office. Off-label uses for this product include the treatment of breast or ovarian cancer, among other conditions.
What Is Eligard Used For?Eligard® (leuprolide acetate) is a prescription medication approved to help manage the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. Because it is not active if taken by mouth, Eligard is given by an injection. The injection is long-acting and is given in the layer of tissue just below the skin (as a subcutaneous injection). It lasts from one to six months, depending on the dosage used.
Using Eligard for Advanced Prostate CancerProstate cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the prostate, a gland located beneath the bladder in men. The prostate gland helps produce semen, which is the fluid that contains sperm.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer among men in the United States. Only skin cancer is more common. It is usually a slow-growing cancer, and may not cause any harm if it doesn't spread beyond the prostate gland. Most men with prostate cancer will not die from it. However, some forms can grow quickly and spread to other areas of the body.
In the early stages, it is not uncommon for prostate cancer to cause no symptoms at all. As the cancer advances, however, symptoms can occur. Men with advanced prostate cancer may experience the following:
- Problems urinating, such as a weak urine flow, painful urination, or an inability to urinate
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Difficulty having an erection
- Bone pain.
(Click Prostate Cancer Symptoms to learn more.)
Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on many factors. If the cancer is not causing any problems, treatment may not be needed. Instead, the healthcare provider will monitor the progression of the cancer through routine tests and exams. This is called "watchful waiting." Some men will never need treatment. However, men with symptoms or cancer that has spread may opt for treatment.
Prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body is considered advanced prostate cancer. Common treatment options for advanced prostate cancer include hormone therapy and radiation therapy. Eligard is a type of hormone therapy. It is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, a type of medicine also sometimes called a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonist.
(Click Prostate Cancer Treatment to learn more about ways to treat this condition.)
Like other hormone therapy options, Eligard is considered palliative treatment. It is used to ease the symptoms of cancer, but does not make the cancer go away. Thus, Eligard can help relieve symptoms of prostate cancer and slow down the progression of the disease, but it does not cure prostate cancer.