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What Is Leuprolide Acetate Depot Used For?

How Does This Medication Work?

Leuprolide acetate depot is similar to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone found naturally in the body. GnRH controls the release of two other hormones from the pituitary gland, which is a tiny gland located beneath the brain: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones stimulate the production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) in the ovaries and testicles.
Normally, when GnRH is released by the body, LH and FSH levels increase and more sex hormones are produced. Because leuprolide acetate depot is similar to GnRH, this series of events occurs when the medication is first given, and an initial rise in sex hormones levels is seen.
However, after two to four weeks of using leuprolide acetate depot, the body stops releasing LH and FSH, and testosterone and estrogen are no longer produced. This decrease in testosterone and estrogen is responsible for leuprolide acetate depot's therapeutic effects, including the following:
  • Most forms of prostate cancer depend on testosterone to grow. By reducing testosterone levels, leuprolide acetate depot slows down or prevents the growth of the testosterone-dependent cancer cells, reducing the symptoms of cancer.
  • Leuprolide acetate depot works to treat precocious puberty by blocking the production of sex hormones (testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls) and temporarily stopping puberty.
  • Estrogen is responsible for the thickening of the uterine lining (the endometrium). By blocking the production of estrogen, leuprolide acetate depot stops the growth of the endometrial tissue, reducing symptoms of endometriosis and bleeding from uterine fibroids.

Can Children Use It?

Some forms of leuprolide acetate depot are approved for use in children to treat central precocious puberty. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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