As many of you know, I was on Lupron Depot for six months for my Endometriosis. I wrote about my personal experiences here and also how my life had changed after my last injection (you can read that, and other’s experiences, here).
Recently, a friend of mine learned he will be starting Lupron Depot to treat his prostate cancer. My husband was surprised this morning when I told him. He didn’t realize the drug’s original purpose was to treat cancer…in men! And it’s because of the connection with cancer that many people think Lupron Depot is chemotherapy. It isn’t.
So, today’s blog entry is here to accomplish a few things:
- Discuss the origins and history of Lupron Depot;
- How it morphed from a cancer treatment to a treatment for hormonal issues (such as Endometriosis, fibroids, and central precocious puberty); and,
- Clarify why I think Lupron Depot is not considered chemotherapy.
I am in no way encouraging or discouraging the use of Lupron Depot in your treatment regimen. This will not be a commentary piece about the pros & cons of the drug. The decision is yours. Research the drug, the side effects, and have lengthy discussions with your physician.
Let the research begin!!
What is Lupron Depot? In a nutshell, it’s a drug delivered by injection that shuts off your hormones. In men, testosterone; in women, estrogen. It’s not an easy treatment to endure, that’s for sure…but every person is different in how their body reacts to the drug.
When was Lupron Depot created?
In 1977, two companies, Takeda (Japan) and Abbott Laboratories (USA), came together and formed TAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
In 1985, Lupron Depot was approved for the American market to treat prostate cancer. Over the years, label improvements, dosage changes, and better syringes were approved by the FDA.
In 2008, Takeda and Abbott ended their joint venture of TAP Pharmaceuticals. Abbott Laboratories retained “the Lupron franchise.”
In 2013, AbbVie emerged from Abbott Laboratories and took over the manufacture and distribution of Lupron Depot.
When was it approved for prostate cancer treatment?
In 1985, Lupron Depot was approved to treat prostate cancer.
If it’s not chemotherapy, what is it?
I’ve talked to nurses and doctors about this question multiple times. I’ve done research. And I am strongly opinionated on the subject.
It’s a hormone therapy drug. It works with the pituitary gland and shuts down the body’s ability to produce testosterone or estrogen. That suppression, in theory, gives the body a fighting chance at beating the cancer because those cells are no longer being fed the hormone it desires so badly to grow. Lupron Depot does nothing to physically attack cancer. It simply alters the body’s ability to create hormones that may feed cancer cells. This starvation effect can either slow or shrink the cancerous growths.
It is not chemotherapy. I repeat: it is not chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy medications attack the cancer cells directly. Lupron Depot is a supportive medication that may starve the cancer cells. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.
When was it approved for Endometriosis treatment?
The best I can find, Lupron Depot was approved by the FDA in 1990 for treating Endometriosis.
When was it approved for Central Precocious Puberty?
In 1993, Lupron Depot-PED was approved by the FDA to treat a childhood hormonal imbalance called Central Precocious Puberty. What’s CPP? It’s when children who are younger than 8 or 9 years old (depending on their sex) show signs of puberty and sexual maturity. Lupron Depot suppresses the hormones, thus suppressing the pace of puberty.
[I know I said I would keep the commentary to myself, but I have to voice this one: I could not even imagine a child going through the side effects I went through…breaks my heart.]
There! I’ve accomplished what I set out to do today. *whew* If you’re reading this and I got my dates wrong, please feel free to correct me. If you’d like to express how Lupron Depot has affected YOUR life, please do so by clicking here.
LupronProstateCancer.com – timeline video
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa