Side Effects and Benefits of Lupron Depot

Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate for depot suspension), a GnRH agonist, is a hormonal agent that significantly reduces estrogen levels. The medication works in two distinct phases. Phase one stimulates the ovaries, causing them to produce more estradiol, the most potent of the three estrogens produced by women. In phase two, the messenger hormones that tell the ovaries to produce estrogen decline dramatically. The resulting drop in estrogen causes women to experience menopause-like side effects.

Doctor with medical chart talking with patient in examination room
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Lupron may be prescribed for women with endometriosis or symptomatic uterine fibroids. It is not a cure for endometriosis but can provide relief from symptoms that lasts for several years. It also may be administered before assisted reproduction, or be used in children who are diagnosed with central precocious puberty (early puberty).

Side Effects

Side effects that have been associated with the use of Lupron Depot include hot flashes and night sweats and, less frequently, palpitations, syncope, and tachycardia.

Other side effects include:

  • generalized pain
  • headaches
  • vaginitis
  • nausea/vomiting
  • fluid retention
  • weight gain
  • acne
  • hirsutism
  • joint pain
  • loss of sexual desire
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • breast tenderness or pain

What Treatment Is Like

For the first week or two after the first injection of Lupron, reproductive hormones increase, causing an increase in symptoms. However, after the first few weeks, these hormones decrease to levels seen in menopausal women. Most women stop having menstrual periods during Lupron therapy.

Lupron is not a contraceptive, however, and it is possible for pregnancy to occur during the first few weeks of therapy. Non-hormonal birth control should be used to prevent pregnancy. Suitable forms of contraceptives include condoms, diaphragms with contraceptive jelly, and non-hormonal IUDs. You should contact your clinician immediately if you suspect that you may be pregnant while using Lupron.

Lupron may be used with add-back therapy, a low dose of estrogen, to help mitigate some of the menopause like symptoms.

Lupron treatments are limited to six to 12 months depending on if add-back therapy is recommended.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Label: Lupron Depot- leuprolide acetate kit. DailyMed. November 2018.

  2. Leuprolide Injection. US National Library of Medicine. January 2018.

  3. Highlights Of Prescribing Information: Lupron Depot.. US Food & Drug Administration.

Additional Reading
  • Lupron Depot.

By Tracee Cornforth
Tracee Cornforth is a freelance writer who covers menstruation, menstrual disorders, and other women's health issues.