Lupron Depot: Q&A

Q&A

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:

  1. Discuss the origins and history of Lupron Depot;
  2. How it morphed from a cancer treatment to a treatment for hormonal issues (such as Endometriosis, fibroids, and central precocious puberty); and,
  3. 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.

Resources:

AbbVie.com

Chemocare.com

Chemotherapy.com

Crunchbase.com

CVS.com

Endofacts.com

FDA (1993)

FDA (1995)

FDA (1998)

FDA (2001)

Genetics Home Research

Gregthatcher.com

Lupron.com

LupronPED.com

LupronProstateCancer.com

LupronProstateCancer.com – timeline video

LupronVictimsHub.com

Takeda.com

~ 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

 

Parabens & Endometriosis

 

Store shelves with shampoo bottles

What are Parabens?

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in consumer products.

Why are they Bad for Us?

If you happen to suffer from Endometriosis, or any other estrogen-driven condition (like breast cancer), please be aware that parabens mimic estrogen.  Just like soy.  Just like flax.  Parabens are an “endocrine disruptor,” which alters our body’s hormone levels.  They’ve been found to play a role in breast cancer cell growth, too.

These chemicals are absorbed through our skin and what we eat and drink.   Studies have shown, though, that parabens are absorbed more by the body through the skin than if you were to consume them.

What Products have Parabens?

Read the labels.  If the ingredients identify “paraben” in the word, you’ve found it: Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzylparaben, Methylparaben and Propylparaben.  Many products are now labeled Paraben-Free, so all you have to do is read to be a little extra cautious.

A 2016 study identified that 80% of personal care products contain parabens and that they (and endocrine disrupting hormones) affect women’s health.  Products that may contain parabens include: antacids, anti-aging creams, conditioner, creams, deodorant, face masks, hair gel, lip balm, lipstick, lotions, make-up, mentholated rubs, pharmaceuticals, shampoo, shaving gel soap, suppositories, some pre-packaged food (dairy, fish, ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, pickles, and poultry, just to name a few), and toothpaste.  The possibilities are endless.

EWG’s Skin Deep has a cosmetic’s database and identifies products which ingredients contain parabens.  (Warning : you’ll be sifting through a lot of information).  It also has a search feature so you can look for the products you use, examine the ingredients, and get some feedback on how safe this organization (Skin Deep) thinks it is for you.  I looked up my facial cleansing regimen (Andalou Natural 1,000 Roses cleansing foam, day cream, exfoliator, facial serum, mask, night cream, and toner) and am happy to report no parabens…however, I do need to take the time to research the other unpronounceable ingredients.

How Can You Test Your Paraben Levels?

Yep! You sure can.  Talk to your physician to see if it’s a test they can order for you.  Your insurance company may, or may not, cover the costs.  You fast for eight hours and pee in a little cup.  The test results are usually available within 10-14 days.  You can view a sample test report by Genova Diagnostics.

Many companies offer a paraben test.  Some companies send you to a clinic to provide your sample, while others offer an in-home test kit that you return via mail.

Direct Labs, Phthalates & Parabens Profile – $329

MyMedLab, Phthalates & Parabens – Urine profile – $235

Nordic Laboratories, Bisphenol A (BPA) Profile + Phthalates + Parabens – GBP 310

True Health Labs, Phthalates & Parabens Profile – $299

A study published in 2016 found that 100 adolescent girls who stopped using personal care products which contained parabens (and switched to “paraben-free” labeled products) for three days showed a decrease in certain parabens and endocrine-disruptor chemicals of 25-47%.  After just three days!

What Will I Do?

If I’ve learned to avoid soy and flax from my diet, I may as well learn to avoid parabens.  Why take the chance of worsening my Endometriosis, if I can try my best to help it?

Try is the key word…and because I’m going to try, I’m not going to beat myself up if I can’t from time to time.  I know a healthier lifestyle is expensive…and alternatives can be hard to come by within budget.  BUT at least I can do my best to stay away from them as often as I can.

AND when I see my physician next year, I’ll ask them to see if they can run this urine test with my annual lab work.  Quite curious if insurance will cover it.

I’m also learning to avoid endocrine disruptors as much as possible, like in our antibacterial soaps that the FDA recently ordered banned…learning ALL THE THINGS!

What Will You Do?

Drop me a comment below…Or if you’ve noticed a difference after you cut parabens out of your life as much as possible…

(Updated March 27, 2019)

Resources:

Endo101Xenoestrogens Interfere with your Normal Hormones

Environmental Health Perspectives – (Article; March 2016) Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study

Environmental Health Perspectives – (Article; Oct. 2016) Toward a Better Beauty Regimen: Reducing Potential EDC Exposures from Personal Care Products

Environment International – (Abstract; Oct. 2016) A Survey of Parabens in Commericial Pharmaceuticals from China and Its Implications for Human Exposure

Genova DiagnosticsPhthalates & Parabens Profile – Urine

Natural Fertility InfoElevated Estrogen Levels Linked to Toxins in Body Care Products

One Green Planet7 Ways to Avoid Parabens and Phthalates in Personal Care Products

Peace with Endo – (Blog; Sept. 2012) Chemicals in Beauty Products

Rocky Mountain Analytical

Skin Help – (Case Study) Why I Only Use a Paraben-Free Suncream: A Case Study

The Ugly Side of BeautyParaben

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution – (Abstract; June 2016) Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Adverse Effects of Bisphenol A and Parabens to Women’s Health

Your Hormone Balance

*If you’d like to review full copies of the abstracts, please let me know*

~ 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