Lupron Depot is similar to 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 the production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) in the ovaries and testicles.
Normally, when GnRH is released by the body, LH and FSH levels increase and more sex hormones are produced. Because Lupron Depot is similar to GnRH, this series of events occurs when Lupron Depot is first given, and an initial rise in sex hormones levels is seen.
However, after two to four weeks of Lupron Depot use, the body stops releasing LH and FSH, and testosterone and estrogen are no longer produced. This decrease in testosterone and estrogen is responsible for Lupron Depot's therapeutic effects.
Most forms of prostate cancer depend on testosterone to grow. By reducing testosterone levels, Lupron Depot slows down or prevents the growth of the testosterone-dependent cancer cells, thereby reducing the symptoms of cancer.
Lupron Depot works to treat precocious puberty by blocking the production of sex hormones (testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls) and temporarily stopping puberty.
Estrogen is responsible for the thickening of the uterine lining (the endometrium). By blocking the production of estrogen, Lupron Depot stops the growth of the endometrial tissue, reducing symptoms of endometriosis and bleeding from uterine fibroids.
Lupron Depot Web site. Available at: http://www.lupron.com. Accessed June 10, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed June 10, 2011.
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