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Generic name: leuprolideLOO-proe-lide ]
Brand names: Eligard, Lupron Depot
Drug classes: Gonadotropin releasing hormones, Hormones / antineoplastics

Medically reviewed by Sophia Entringer, PharmD. Last updated on Aug 21, 2023.

What is Eligard?

Eligard overstimulates the body's own production of certain hormones, which causes that production to shut down temporarily. Leuprolide reduces the amount of testosterone in men or estrogen in women.

Eligard injectable suspension is used in men to treat the symptoms of prostate cancer.

Eligard treats only the symptoms of prostate cancer and does not treat the cancer itself.


Your symptoms may become temporarily worse when you first start using Eligard. Tell your doctor if this continues for longer than 2 months.

Call your doctor at once if you have a seizure, or unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Eligard is for use in males. Other brands of leuprolide are used by women. Do not use Eligard if you are pregnant.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Eligard if you are allergic to leuprolide or similar medicines such as buserelin, goserelin, histrelin, nafarelin, or if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor.

Leuprolide can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Certain brands or strengths of leuprolide are used to treat only men and should not be used in women or children. Always check your medicine to make sure you have received the correct brand and strength.

To make sure Eligard is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Do not give Eligard to any child without medical advice.

Leuprolide usually causes women to stop ovulating or having menstrual periods. However, you may still be able to get pregnant. Use a condom or diaphragm with spermicide to prevent pregnancy. Leuprolide can make hormonal birth control less effective (birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, vaginal rings).

Call your doctor if your periods continue while you are being treated with this medicine.

You should not breast-feed while using Eligard.

How should I use Eligard?

Take Eligard exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Different brands or strengths of leuprolide are used to treat different conditions. It is very important that you receive exactly the brand and strength your doctor has prescribed. Always check your medication to make sure you have received the correct brand and type prescribed by your doctor.

Eligard is injected under the skin or into a muscle, once every month or once every 3 to 6 months. A healthcare provider can teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Do not use Eligard if you don't understand all instructions for proper use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.

Your symptoms may become temporarily worse as your hormones adjust to leuprolide.

Keep using the medicine as directed, and tell your doctor if your condition is still worse after 2 months of using Eligard.

You may need frequent medical tests while using leuprolide.

Store Eligard in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. You may take the medicine out and allow it to reach room temperature before mixing and injecting your dose. Mixed medicine must be used within 30 minutes.

You may also store Eligard in its original packaging at room temperature for up to 8 weeks.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Prostate Cancer:

1 mg injection subcutaneously once a day
7.5 mg depot IM or depot subcutaneously once a month
22.5 mg depot IM once every 3 months
30 mg depot IM once every 4 months
45 mg subcutaneous injection every 6 months

Use: Palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Eligard?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Eligard side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Eligard (hives, sweating, fast heartbeats, dizziness, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • problems with your pituitary gland - sudden severe headache, vomiting, problems with your eyes or vision, changes in mood or behavior;

  • bone pain, loss of movement in any part of your body;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • a seizure;

  • unusual changes in mood or behavior (crying spells, anger, feeling irritable);

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or hack;

  • painful or difficult urination; or

  • high blood sugar - increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor.

Rare but serious side effects may occur. Call your doctor if you have:

  • pain or unusual sensations in your back, numbness, weakness, or tingly feeling in your legs or feet;

  • muscle weakness or loss of use, loss of bowel or bladder control;

  • heart attack symptoms - chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating; or

  • signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech.

Common Eligard side effects may include:

  • pituitary gland problems;

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough with or without mucus;

  • fever, tiredness, not feeling well;

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation;

  • wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing;

  • hot flashes, sweating;

  • dizziness, mood changes;

  • headache, general pain;

  • vaginal swelling, itching, or discharge;

  • weight changes;

  • decreased testicle size;

  • decreased interest in sex; or

  • redness, pain, swelling, or oozing where the shot was given.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Eligard?

Eligard can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.

Other drugs may interact with leuprolide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Popular FAQ

Eligard (leuprolide acetate) is usually given as a long-term therapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Hormone therapy may be continued for as long as the treatment continues to be beneficial and the side effects are tolerated. Studies have shown that continuation of therapy with leuprolide acetate maintains testosterone below the castrate level for up to seven years. Continue reading

Eligard (leuprolide acetate) is not a chemotherapy drug. It is a prescription hormone medicine used to treat advanced prostate cancer. Prostate cancer growth can be stimulated by the hormone testosterone. Eligard works by reducing the amount of testosterone in your blood. It is not a cure for prostate cancer. Continue reading

Eligard (leuprolide acetate) is an injectable suspension injected under your skin (subcutaneously) once every month or once every 3, 4 or 6 months, based on the dosing schedule that works best for you. Your doctor will give you this injection in the doctor’s office, a clinic or in the hospital. It is used for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Continue reading

In clinical studies evaluating endometriosis, 95% of women started their periods (normal menstrual cycle) in the third month after treatment ended with Lupron Depot 3.75 mg. Continue reading

During an vitro fertilization (IVF) protocol, your doctor may use leuprolide (Lupron) injection as part of an ovarian stimulation regimen. Leuprolide is a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist. It reduces the amount of hormone that stimulates ovulation. This helps to control your ovulatory cycle and prevent premature ovulation, so that your doctor can have predictable access to your eggs for IVF. The brand name Lupron is no longer available in the U.S., but generic options are available. Continue reading

Lupron Depot and Eligard are brand name medicines that both contain the active ingredient leuprolide acetate. Both Lupron Depot and Eligard are prescribed to treat the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. Lupron Depot is also approved to treat endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or central precocious puberty (CPP) in children (early puberty). Continue reading

Yes, you may still become pregnant if you are using Lupron Depot. Lupron Depot is not a method of birth control. Even though you may not have a period, unprotected intercourse could result in pregnancy. Lupron Depot can cause harm to an unborn child. You should use a reliable non-hormonal birth control such as condoms, a diaphragm with contraceptive jelly, or a copper IUD to prevent pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about use of birth control before you start treatment with Lupron Depot. Continue reading

No, Firmagon (degarelix) is not the same as Lupron but they are both hormone deprivation treatments that may be used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Firmagon takes a more direct path to testosterone suppression than Lupron. Firmagon is an antagonist that immediately stops testosterone production, preventing a testosterone surge and eliminating the need for any additional therapies. Lupron is an agonist that desensitizes the GnRH receptor but causes an initial surge in testosterone and may require additional medication. Continue reading

Supprelin LA is not the same as Lupron Depot-Ped, because Supprelin LA contains the active drug histrelin acetate, while Lupron Depot-Ped contains the active drug leuprolide acetate. Both belong to the class of medicines called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GRHA) and both are approved to treat central precocious puberty (CPP) in children aged 2 years and older. Although they have not been compared directly in clinical studies, separate studies have found them both to be effective for CPP. Supprelin LA is available as a small implant that is placed under the skin of the upper arm by a healthcare provider, and it lasts for 12 months. Lupron Depot-Ped is given by intramuscular injection into the buttock, thigh, or deltoid muscle once a month so must be given 12 times a year. Continue reading

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Eligard only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.