What is Lupron Depot® (leuprolide acetate)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate) is a type of hormone therapy that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat endometriosis, fibroids, central precocious puberty (Lupron Depot-PED®), and prostate cancer.1

Lupron Depot may be used off-label to treat certain forms of breast cancer that are hormone receptor-positive (HR+) in people who have not gone through menopause. Off-label means using an FDA-approved drug for an unapproved use.2

Many breast cancers are classified as HR+, meaning they have receptors on the surface of their cells where hormones like estrogen can attach. When the hormones connect with these receptors, they can fuel the growth of the cancer cells and lead to them growing and spreading.1,2

What are the ingredients in Lupron Depot?

The active ingredient in Lupron Depot is leuprolide acetate.2-4

How does Lupron Depot work?

Lupron Depot is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist. The pituitary gland secretes gonadotropin, which stimulates the production of estrogen by the ovaries. LHRH agonists like Lupron Depot stop the pituitary gland from releasing gonadotropin. This reduces the amount of estrogen in the body, which slows the growth of breast cancer cells and kills them.1,2

What are the possible side effects of Lupron Depot?

The most common side effects of Lupron Depot include:2-4

Lupron Depot may cause a temporary increase in estrogen levels. This can result in a tumor flare or worsening of symptoms.4

Lupron Depot may also cause serious side effects, including:3,4

  • Weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • Allergic reactions
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Heart problems

These are not all the possible side effects of Lupron Depot. Talk to your doctor about what to expect with treatment or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Lupron Depot.

Things to know about Lupron Depot

Your doctor may monitor your heart function and bone density before and during treatment with Lupron Depot. You doctor may also screen you for diabetes during treatment with Lupron Depot.3,4

Lupron Depot affects the reproductive system and should cause menstruation to stop. If your menstrual cycle continues or you experience spotting, notify your doctor.4

Lupron Depot can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Lupron Depot. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control while taking Lupron Depot. Additionally, if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about this consideration to make sure you have a plan that is safe before starting treatment.1,3,4

Before beginning treatment for breast cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Lupron Depot.

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