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How does Lupron (leuprolide) work for prostate cancer?

What is the testosterone flare or surge associated with Lupron?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Dec 9, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

How does Lupron Depot work for prostate cancer?

Lupron Depot is a hormone therapy that is used to treat prostate cancer.

  • Prostate cancer growth is increased or stimulated by the male hormone testosterone, which is an androgen.
  • Reducing levels of androgens can slow the growth of prostate cancer.
  • Lupron depot is a slow release injection that works to treat prostate cancer by reducing levels of testosterone to below the level you would expect with castration.

What is a testosterone flare or surge with Lupron?

The first time Lupron depo injection is given there is a temporary increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that leads to an increase in testosterone (the 'testosterone flare') and dihydrotestosterone that lasts approximately 5 to 12 days. After this initial increase in LH and FSH levels, both LH and FSH decrease which results in testosterone levels to fall to below castration levels. For most patients the reduction in serum testosterone to below castration levels usually occurs within the first 30 days of treatment. In clinical studies testosterone levels usually remain low over 24 to 32 weeks, with regular administration of Lupron Depo.

Lupron Depo is given as a slow release injection and dosage schedule varies from monthly up to 6 monthly depending on the strength of injection.

Bottom line:

  • Lupron Depot is a hormone therapy that is used to treat prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer growth is increased or stimulated by the male hormone testosterone.
  • Lupron Depo causes a decrease in testosterone levels which can slow the growth of prostate cancer.
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