Reproductive systems of males have a gland called prostate. It is present under the urinary bladder. The prostate supplies a liquid to make semen; cancers in the prostate develop over a period of time. Lupron is a drug prescribed for the treatment of cancers. This drug limits the presence of a few male sex hormones and inhibits the progression of cancerous cells. It also triggers a few side effects. It helps to know the likely side effects and reactions this drug may cause in your body.
When cells multiply beyond control, it is the starting point of cancer. A multiplication of cells in your prostate leads to cancers in the region. Cancer in prostate is a common form of autoimmune condition among men. An early detection of such cancerous growth increases the likelihood of a successful case management of the medical condition. At its early stage, cancers in prostate do not cause any major discomforts and symptoms. But, during the later stage of cancers you may observe traces of blood in prostatic fluid such as semen, pain in your pelvic region, male impotence, problems while trying to urinate, etc.
Prostate cancer – Risks and diagnosis
Medical studies have identified a few risk factors that lead to cancer in prostate. Of the risks identified, key factors are excessive body weight, presence of such cancers in your family’s medical history and age. In some instances, smoking has led to these cancers. The relationship between your diet and this medical condition is not fully established. But, dietary studies indicate a possible link between this condition and consumption of refined sugars, excessive share of calories or intake of fats sourced from animals.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is done on your blood samples to identify a likely incidence of this cancer. Healthy men show very few traces of this antigen. Men with cancers in prostate show a marked increase in PSA levels. However, an enlarged prostate – a benign condition – can also lead to excessive PSA in blood. Presence of cancers in prostate can also be detected by examining your rectum. Your doctor may insert a finger (gloved and lubricated) inside your rectum and checks are done to detect any excessive thickening of your rectal areas. However, examining your rectum has a few limitations; chief among them is- it cannot help detect early stage of cancers in prostate.
Use of Lupron to treat prostate cancers
Among drugs prescribed to treat cancer in prostate, Lupron is a commonly used medicine. It is administered for the treatment of fairly advanced stage of prostate cancers. It is a fact that many types of cancers in the prostate require testosterone – a male sex hormone – in order to multiply.
Drugs like Lupron help control the quantum of such hormones made. Since cancerous cells in prostate find it difficult to grow with inadequate amounts of sex hormones, multiplication of these cancers slows down to a considerable extent. In some cases, this drug has successfully stopped the multiplication of cancerous cells. As a result, you will find relief from signs such as difficulties while urinating or pain during discharge of urine. Owing to its ability to control the production of sex hormones, it is also used to control early or untimely (precocious) puberty among children.
Lupron is administered as an injection underneath your skin. Among children, the dosage is decided based on the response to this drug as well as body weight of children. For adults, the standard dose is once per day. Lupron may actually increase your body’s ability to make sex hormones during the initial weeks of this medication plan. But, this is only a common side effect while you start taking this drug. But, as you habituate your body by consuming the drug for a few weeks, these side effects will slowly subside and hormones level will start coming down.
Side effects of Lupron
You need to know that your doctor has administered Lupron as its benefits outweigh the risks of adverse reactions or effects. You will also need to know that the drug is unlikely to cause acute or serious reactions in many users. The most common side effects of Lupron are excessive sweating, weariness, headache, difficulties to sleep and pain in your muscles. Some people have reported frequent urges to urinate (especially during night hours), drowsiness as well as drop in libido (sexual interest). You may experience these adverse reactions only for a short span of time. But, if these effects are getting worse or persisting for a longer time, you need to consult your treating doctor without delay.
Serious side effects
This medication is also likely to affect your body’s capability to make sperm cells. This may trigger a drop in fertility levels of males. In some rare instances, men may experience shrinkage of their testicles (balls) and softening of their breasts. As mentioned, reduced levels of libido are due to a sizeable decrease in the quantum of sex hormones your body makes. It is hence a good practice to consult your treating doctor if you experience any of these side effects.
As a part of very serious side effects, you may find your bones turning weak or brittle; as a result, you may become more vulnerable to bone damages or injuries. In some cases, men may experience pain in their bones. Acute side effects may also include mental disorders as well as mood swings; some men have reported suicidal instincts, aggressive behavior, depressive thoughts, etc.
Extremely acute but very rare side effects include convulsions or seizures. In some men, pituitary function may get altered – especially in the first few weeks of administering this drug. Other equally serious reactions are excessive vomiting, passing out, extreme changes in moods and behavior. This drug may very rarely trigger a sudden spell of acute headache, extreme levels of confusion as well as inability to stay focused. In all such instances, you will need to seek medical attention at the soonest possible time.
Very rare reactions and side effects
Lupron may very rarely trigger risks of strokes as well as cardiac arrests. If you notice any of the symptoms of strokes, you are advised to seek medical attention immediately. Common symptoms of strokes are blurring of vision, being in a confused state of mind, difficulties to speak, tiredness or weariness – especially towards one part of your body, etc. Similarly, if you experience signs of a likely cardiac arrest, you will need to seek medical help on an emergency basis. The most common signs of a possible cardiac arrest include chest pain, sweating profusely, gasping for breath, an acute pain in your jaw, left shoulder or upper part of the hand, etc. If you are living in the US, you need to call 911 and if you are residing in Canada, it is strongly advised to get in touch with a poison control center at the earliest possible time.
Precautionary measures needed before taking Lupron
If you have medical conditions such as osteoporosis (i.e., loss of bones) or prior incidence of strokes, cardiac arrests or mental problems you will need to keep your doctor informed about such conditions. Also, if you are diabetic or suffering from high levels of blood cholesterol, the medical team needs to be made aware of these conditions. Patients with prolonged QT interval must inform the doctor about medications taken, if any – for treating it. Those who take anticonvulsant drugs or steroids (especially, corticosteroids) will need to keep the treating doctor aware of being part of such medication plans.
As this medication can make you drowsy, intake of alcohol or tranquilizing drugs may make it worse. After taking dosages of Lupron, you are advised not to engage in activities that may demand a high level of mental agility. Stay away from driving or working on heavy duty machines. If your lifestyle habits include regular intake of alcohol, you will need to talk to the caregiver about such habits.
It is also a good practice to inform your dentist or surgeon well-ahead of a dental procedure or a surgical intervention, respectively. Moreover, if you are aged more than 60 years, you are more likely to become sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
This drug may interact with medicines that you may be currently consuming. Hence, it becomes very important to tell your treating doctor about your existing treatment plans, if any. You may need to use this drug in a regular manner to get fullest advantage of its doses. It is not a good practice to stop taking this drug without taking the consent of your doctor. Such sudden discontinuation – i.e., without informing your doctor – is likely to trigger adverse side effects. Also, if cancerous growth has reached your spine, then it may cause blockage of your urethra. Hence, you may need regular monitoring and follow-up during the initial period of the treatment plan.
In sum, Lupron is administered for treating advanced stages of prostate cancer. Common side effects of Lupron include sweating, pain in your muscles, headaches, etc. Severe side effects may include mental conditions such as mood swings, suicidal instincts and depressive thoughts. The drug may very rarely lead to risks of cardiac arrests as well as strokes. If you notice any of the symptoms of either a stroke or heart attack, you are advised to take medical help without any delay.