Lupron Depot Injections
Last updated: September 2018
Lupron Depot injections are one of the treatment options available to individuals with endometriosis. The injections are offered in a monthly and an every three month injection, at different strengths. While their website says the drug has been used by doctors since 1990, I was given it in 2005, and in my experience, they obviously had not figured out all of the quirks of the medication at that time.
It started with laparoscopic surgery
At the time, I was seeing a team of two gynecologists to treat my endometriosis. To actually be diagnosed with endometriosis, the doctor has to perform a laparoscopic surgery to verify the endometriosis lesions.1,2 At that time, they can also remove them, which my doctors did with a laser and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 endometriosis.
Lupron Depot injections
The doctors made the choice to put me in a pseudo-menopause after the surgery to attempt to control the endometriosis, and hopefully my pain as well. They chose to use the Lupron Depot injections every three months in order to do this job. Nowadays, the treatment cycle of Lupron Depot injections is only six months3; I was on it for well over a year until I switched to a new doctor. The injections work by suppressing the estrogen in your body. By removing the estrogen from your body, your brain is tricked into thinking it is time to go into menopause.
Short-term side effects
The website for the Lupron Depot injections listed some mild side effects that are things you experience with menopause. These side effects included things such as hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, decreased libido, depression, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, weight loss, and dizziness. I had to look hard at their downloadable pamphlet to find the big one, the bone density loss which may or may not be reversible.3 I knew to look for this because I experienced it to an extreme level. When I switched specialists, he had a bone density test done on me and I had full blown osteoporosis, and trust me, I was no where near old enough for bone density issues to even be a concern (I am still not)! He changed my medications to keep me in the pseudo-menopause and started me on a medication for the osteoporosis. I continued to have to take that medication and do the bone density scans for two years to undo the damage done by the Lupron Depot injections.
Long-term side effects
The website "Natural Fertility Info" discusses long-term side effects of the Lupron Depot injections, which strikes me as extremely interesting all these years later. The drug manufacturer reports these long-term side effects as rare, but they include joint pain, fibromyalgia, and memory loss.3 However, a study from the Endometriosis Research Center found that over half of women experienced long-term side effects after using Lupron.4,5 Scary enough, I have extreme fibromyalgia that they have been unable to attribute to an injury or any “other” onset.
These days, there are many more medications available to treat endometriosis and honestly, even so much more information available to individuals suffering from endometriosis. I always want individuals to know that you do not have to have blind faith in your doctors. You’re allowed to ask questions and research medications before starting a treatment. Stay strong and never forget to be your own best advocate!
Have you tried Lupron Depot injections? If so, what was your experience?
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):