Leuprolide acetate, brand names: Eligard, Lupron, Viadur
March 19 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Leuprolide is related to a naturally occurring hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH influences the release of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the body. Leuprolide is used to reduce the amount of testosterone or estrogen in the body. Leuprolide acetate has been widely used over the past 20 years as a treatment for a range of hormone-related disorders, including prostate cancer, endometriosis, and precocious puberty. Leuprolide acetate may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

How is it administered?
Leuprolide acetate can be administered as an intramuscular injection (into muscle), a subcutaneous injection (under the skin), as a depot injection (a shot given periodically at a doctor's office), or as an implant.

Leuprolide and Pregnancy
Leuprolide acetate is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that leuprolide acetate is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether leuprolide passes into breast milk. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Leuprolide side effects, safety

Side effects of leuprolide may include the following: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); difficulty urinating; bone pain; or numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or arms; decreased libido or impotence; hot flashes;  lack of energy;  depression; breast enlargement; and nausea or vomiting.


J Cutan Pathology. 2012. Follicular mucinosis and mycosis-fungoides-like drug eruption due to leuprolide acetate: a case report and review.

Indian J Psychiatry. 2015. Persistent genital arousal disorder: Successful treatment with leuprolide (antiandrogen).

Leuprolide and Alzheimer's Disease

Women with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease in whom this anti-gonadotropin agent is added to conventional acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) therapy maintain cognitive and physical functioning longer than women treated with conventional therapy alone. The trial was sponsored by Voyager Pharmaceutical Corporation.