Lupron and Endometriosis

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Leuprolide, more commonly known as Lupron, is promoted within the gynecological field as one of the best options for treating endometriosis. Lupron is also used for men with prostate cancer and children going through precocious puberty. Endometriosis is a secondary autoimmune disease where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, breaking down and bleeding in conjunction with a woman’s regular menstrual cycle. The displaced endometrium, having no way of leaving the body causes scarring, cysts, internal bleeding, chronic pain and infertility.  There is currently no cure for endometriosis. Current treatments include laproscopic surgery, oral contraceptives, partial or complete hysterectomy and GnRH agonists such as Lupron.

What is Lupron?

Lupron in a GnRH agonist which puts the female into a chemically induced state of menopause and is often associated with serious side-effects. According to Dr. David Redwine, a gynecologist with over 30 years of experience treating endometriosis, “The state of menopause with Lupron is very unnatural, not only because it is chemically induced with medicines, but because FSH levels are not elevated as they are in normal menopause. Lupron temporarily stops menstruation but does nothing to eradicate endometriosis from the woman’s body.”  What Lupron does do is suppress the body’s pituitary-gonadal system potentially causing an onslaught of endocrine, neural and immune side-effects.

Side Effects

While this list is not all inclusive, it does however, include many of the more commonly reported side effects of Lupron: 

  • fatigue
  • hot flashes
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • joint pain
  • decreased bone density
  • loss of sex drive
  • vaginal dryness
  • loss of appetite
  • weight gain
  • nausea
  • changes in bowel patterns
  • acne
  • facial hair growth
  • increased body hair growth
  • breakthrough bleeding
  • dizziness
  • night sweats
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • overall feeling of physical weakness
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vaginal itching and/or discharge
  • breast swelling or tenderness
  • memory problems
  • changes in urinary control
  • skin redness and itching
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • diabetes
  • convulsions
  • hair loss
  • anemia
  • fibromyalgia like symptoms
  • hyperglycemia
  • ECG changes

The Lupron and Endometriosis Connection

Given the general lack of knowledge and sparsity of endometriosis specialists – it almost makes sense that a drug that stops menstruation and induces a hormonal standstill, would be effective in treating endometriosis – almost.  However, Lupron does not cure endometriosis nor does it effectively treat endometriosis.  What it does cause is a host of painful side effects which can last long after the drug’s maximum 6 month dosage.

As a co-founder of Endo Warriors, a support group for women with endometriosis, I have spoken to countless women with endometriosis who have been prescribed Lupron for their endometriosis.  Of these women, I have never heard one say that taking Lupron either helped their symptoms or provided any decreased endometriosis progression. Instead I have heard several stories of women developing thyroid disease, women experiencing hot flashes and breakthrough bleeding as painful as if they were menstruating, women in their late twenties coming off Lupron with bone densities resembling those of women in their late sixties, and stories of developing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Despite the adverse consequences of Lupron being known within the Lupron-prescribed portion of the endometriosis community, the dissemination of that knowledge generally stops there. In fact, there are plenty of websites that describe endometriosis as a common and treatable reproductive disease – going on to cite Lupron as not only an effective but an optimal treatment. While endometriosis is indeed common, with 176 million sufferers worldwide, it is not easily treatable.  And unfortunately, none of those 176 million women will see a cure until some honest dialogue take places regarding the challenges in treating endometriosis and credible evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of Lupron and other prescribed treatments for endometriosis is available.

Lupron Side Effects Survey

To determine the rate, range and scope of side-effects associated with Lupron use in women’s health,  Lucine and Hormones Matter are conducting an online survey: The Lupron Side Effects Survey. The survey is anonymous and takes only 15 minutes to complete. If you are woman who has ever been prescribed Lupron, please take a few minutes to complete the survey. Your data will give other women the information they need to make a decision about Lupron.

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. I hated Lupron! It die very little for the pain. It just made me dizzy and forgetful (and this was with add-back therapy). I also endedup with a stress fracture in my foot thanks to Lupron. I warn everyone against Lupron. I tell them about the Creighton/NaPro Method. That has been an answer to prayer when treating my endometriosis.

  2. I had a complete hysterectomy when I was 36. By the time I was 40, I had endometriosis again. I was given Lupron for six months to throw me into menopause. Not only did I have no side effects, but I am now 58 and have had no symptoms of endometriosis since. Of course, I can’t take estrogen replacement therapy. I was totally unaware that anyone has any problems with it until I read this article. I found it to be the perfect solution to the problem.

  3. I had awful endometriosis…two surgeries and a still had problems as well as some on or in my bladder, could not even sleep, was just feeling awful. Opted to take a 1 month dose with no side effects noticed so went for a 3 month follow up shot. To make it short taking this drug has helped me tremendously and has significantly increased my physical comfort. However the side affects are terrible….i had severe severe crazy anxiety that kept me up nights and was too ill to eat most of the time because of it, lost about 15 lbs and looked as well as felt so sickly, that shot was my last, it was really too much for me to continue. The effects are still a bit present a year later now and although my hair grew suprisingly fast and thick while on the shot it all ended up breaking off due to how weak it was when it had grown in….i went from super long hair to almost all of it falling off and so i had to have it cut and am now growing out weird super short mulletty haircut. It’s all been tramatic and more but yet I it was worth it as now I’m functioning like a mostly normal human being, feel like a better mom and partner, most days and sleep fine at night. There are side effects but for me the positive results actually seem to outweigh the negative experience.

  4. I received Lupron over 14 years ago. To me it was a God send. It’s helped me and my doctor understand that a total hysterectomy was the best route. I had such severe endometriosis that I was constantly at the ER. When I received the shot in did not take long for the pain to stop. It was such a marvelous feeling not to feel as if my insides were being ripped out. As for the hysterectomy I wish I had it done in my early 20s. Living pain free is liberating. My quality of life has improved by leaps and bounds. As for anyone trying to decide if this is a option for you….. Well don’t let the side effects scare you. Any time they do a clinical trial you have to write down anything that is going on with your body. The nausea just may be one to many glasses of wine.

    1. Were you on other meds that curbed the suicidal feelings? That’s one side effect that really should be listed…

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