How Long Does Eligard Work For
When you start treatment with Eligard, your doctor will recommend how long you should take the drug. In many cases, you may take Eligard for a long period of time.
Although Eligard doesnt work to treat advanced prostate cancer, it can help manage symptoms that the condition may cause. Studies of leuprolide acetate, the active drug in Eligard, have shown it to be effective for up to 7 years in people with prostate cancer.
Your doctor will help you determine how long you should take Eligard. Its possible they may recommend that you take Eligard as a long-term therapy.
Chemotherapy For Stage Iv Prostate Cancer
I am 79 years old and have had stage IV prostate cancer for three years now. Treatment has been immunotherapy, most recently Keytruda.
My oncologist seems to be giving up on the keytruda and is now advising/proposing chemotherapy using docetaxel.
I would appreciate receiving information on the experience people have had with chemotherapy in general, and with docetaxel specifically if anyone has gone this route.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Prostate Cancer group.
I’ve just finished my 6 treatments of docetaxel. One every 3 weeks. My stage 4 prostate cancer has shown no progression. I am also getting a Lupron shot every 3 months and a bone infusion of zoledronic acid every month. My psa is non detectable. The treatments seem to be working but the side effects are pretty bad. You get really tired, no appetite and everything taste bad. I have lost 25 pounds during the treatment. As long as it works I can live with it. Just hoping my strength returns after this is out on my system.
Welcome @redroadtraveler. I moved your question to the Prostate Cancer support group here:
In addition to the helpful reply you got from @gdstewar, I’m bringing in fellow members @leebeth@sannira@rso who have experience with chemotherapy treatments including docetaxel and can share their experiences as well.
How are you doing with the prospect of going on chemotherapy?
Drug Forms And Strengths
Eligard is given as a subcutaneous injection by a healthcare professional. Youll receive it at your doctors office or hospital. For more information about how Eligard is given, see the How Eligard is administered section above.
Eligard is available in the following strengths: 7.5 milligrams , 22.5 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg.
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Eligard Withdrawal And Dependence
Researchers havent investigated whether Eligard can cause drug dependence, and Eligard isnt known to cause it. Dependence is when your body needs the drug to feel normal.
Eligard also isnt known to cause any withdrawal symptoms when a person stops taking it. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that may occur after you stop using a medication that your body has become dependent on.
Intermittent Versus Continuous Hormone Therapy
Most prostate cancers treated with hormone therapy become resistant to this treatment over a period of months or years. Some doctors believe that constant androgen suppression might not be needed, so they advise intermittent treatment. This can allow for a break from side effects like decreased energy, sexual problems, and hot flashes.
In one form of intermittent hormone therapy, treatment is stopped once the PSA drops to a very low level. If the PSA level begins to rise, the drugs are started again. Another form of intermittent therapy uses hormone therapy for fixed periods of time for example, 6 months on followed by 6 months off.
At this time, it isnt clear how this approach compares to continuous hormone therapy. Some studies have found that continuous therapy might help men live longer, but other studies have not found such a difference.
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Effectiveness For Prostate Cancer
Researchers measured testosterone levels in the blood to see how well Eligard was working. When testosterone levels are low, prostate cancer is less likely to grow and cause symptoms. Testosterone levels above 50 nanograms per deciliter could indicate that the drug wasnt working.
The trials showed that increases in testosterone above 50 ng/dL occurred in up to 3% of males,* depending on dosage.
In those males whose testosterone levels increased above 50 ng/dL, levels were again reduced to below 50 ng/dL within 21 days of another dose of Eligard.
The trials also looked at the males blood level of prostate-specific antigen . PSA is a protein thats produced by the prostate gland. Many males with prostate cancer have an elevated PSA level. PSA level may also increase due to other conditions that affect the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or infection.
When males with a high PSA level received Eligard, their PSA level decreased by between 86% and 98%. All males who had a high PSA level before starting the trials showed a decrease in PSA when taking Eligard.
* Use of the terms male and female within this article refers to a persons sex assigned at birth.
How To Take Leuprolide Acetate
Leuprolide acetate is given as an injection under the skin, every 4 weeks. There is also a long-acting formulation , which is given every 3, 4 or 6 months into the muscle . Leuprolide acetate can also be administered as an implant that is inserted under the skin in the upper arm and lasts for 12 months.
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Side Effects And Risks
Eligard and Lupron Depot both contain the same active drug, leuprolide acetate. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.
Mild side effects
These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with either Eligard or Lupron Depot, as well as mild side effects that both drugs may share.
- Can occur with Eligard:
- increased risk of heart disease
Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer
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Hormone therapy is also called androgen suppression therapy. The goal of this treatment is to reduce levels of male hormones, called androgens, in the body, or to stop them from fueling prostate cancer cell growth.
Androgens stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. The main androgens in the body are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone . Most androgens are made by the testicles, but the adrenal glands as well as the prostate cancer cells themselves, can also make androgens.
Lowering androgen levels or stopping them from getting into prostate cancer cells often makes prostate cancers shrink or grow more slowly for a time. But hormone therapy alone does not cure prostate cancer.
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Eligard Structure And Effects
The hypothalamus releases GnRH in pulses mainly due to the negative feedback from the presence of sex hormones. This works with the pituitary gland because it deregulates the number of GnRH receptors as a result of stimulation in order to prevent the potential overproduction of gonadotropins. Eligard utilizes these mechanisms to achieve castration.
Leuprolide acetate is a GnRH analog. It binds to GnRH receptors on the pituitary gland, and it mimics the effect of the actual hormone. Therefore, when Eligard treatment is started for the first time, the body perceives it as a pulse of GnRH. This causes a transient, increased production of gonadotropins and testosterone in the first 2 to 4 weeks of treatment. Over time, however, with constant stimulation of the GnRH receptors, the pituitary gland becomes almost completely desensitized from GnRH, leading to an indirect blockade of gonadotropin production. Without LH, the testicles stop producing testosterone. As a result, the body achieves castrate levels of testosterone . This effect has been shown to maintain for up to seven years with Eligard therapy .
Will Eligard Cure Prostate Cancer
No, Eligard wont cure advanced prostate cancer. Currently, theres no cure for this condition. However, medications such as Eligard can help reduce your symptoms of prostate cancer, which may improve your quality of life.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for your advanced prostate cancer.
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Eligard Use With Other Drugs
Its possible youll take Eligard with other medications to manage your advanced prostate cancer. Treatment for your specific prostate cancer may depend on other conditions that you have and how advanced your cancer is.
Current treatment guidelines for advanced prostate cancer may recommend using a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, such as Eligard, with other medications. GnRH agonists are often used with androgen deprivation therapy , especially at the beginning of treatment.
ADT drugs block androgen hormones, such as testosterone, from working in your body. Testosterone fuels the production of prostate cancer cells.
When you first start taking Eligard, your testosterone levels may actually increase for the first week or two of treatment. This means that your symptoms of prostate cancer may get worse before they improve.
Therefore, your doctor may recommend that you take an ADT, especially during your first few weeks of treatment. This can help prevent your symptoms from getting worse.
Examples of ADT medications include:
Your doctor may also recommend taking an ADT medication with Eligard if you have prostate cancer that has come back after treatment or that hasnt improved with other medications, like ADT drugs alone or radiation treatment. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
Before Taking This Medicine
You should not use Eligard if you are allergic to leuprolide or similar medicines such as buserelin, goserelin, histrelin, nafarelin, or if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor.
Leuprolide can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
Certain brands or strengths of leuprolide are used to treat only men and should not be used in women or children. Always check your medicine to make sure you have received the correct brand and strength.
To make sure Eligard is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
depression, mental illness or psychosis
an electrolyte imbalance or
risk factors for bone loss .
Do not give Eligard to any child without medical advice.
Leuprolide usually causes women to stop ovulating or having menstrual periods. However, you may still be able to get pregnant. Use a condom or diaphragm with spermicide to prevent pregnancy. Leuprolide can make hormonal birth control less effective .
You should not breast-feed while using Eligard.
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What Is Eligard Used For
Eligard is a prescription-only injectable medication that is used in the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Advanced prostate cancer refers to both locally advanced prostate cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. Eligard is administered into the subcutaneous tissue, which is located directly beneath the skin.
Speak to a Specialist
Drugs That Stop Androgens From Working
For most prostate cancer cells to grow, androgens have to attach to a protein in the prostate cancer cell called an androgen receptor. Anti-androgens are drugs that also connect to these receptors, keeping the androgens from causing tumor growth. Anti-androgens are also sometimes called androgen receptor antagonists.
Drugs of this type include:
They are taken daily as pills.
In the United States, anti-androgens are not often used by themselves:
- An anti-androgen may be added to treatment if orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist or antagonist is no longer working by itself.
- An anti-androgen is also sometimes given for a few weeks when an LHRH agonist is first started. This can help prevent a tumor flare.
- An anti-androgen can also be combined with orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist as first-line hormone therapy. This is called combined androgen blockade . There is still some debate as to whether CAB is more effective in this setting than using orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist alone. If there is a benefit, it appears to be small.
- In some men, if an anti-androgen is no longer working, simply stopping the anti-androgen can cause the cancer to stop growing for a short time. This is called the anti-androgen withdrawal effect, although it is not clear why it happens.
Enzalutamide , apalutamide and darolutamide are newer types of anti-androgens. They can sometimes be helpful even when older anti-androgens are not.
These drugs are taken as pills each day.
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Medical Versus Surgical Castration
Reducing the male sex hormone testosterone helps stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. This is done via a process known as castration, which is a type of hormone therapy that involves the removal of testicular function either surgically or medically. Surgical removal of the testicles is the simplest and the least expensive method of castration. Because it is permanent, however, it is not preferable to most patients. Medical castration, on the other hand, is done by administering medications that block testosterone production. In exchange for keeping the testes intact, doses of these drugs must be repeated regularly for an indefinite period of time to maintain castration status.
How Long Does It Take Eligard To Work
Eligard takes a few weeks to begin working.
Within the first 1 to 2 weeks of treatment with Eligard, your testosterone levels will actually increase. This may cause your tumor to grow and symptoms to worsen at the beginning of treatment. This is known as a tumor flare.
Tumor flares tend to decrease within 2 to 4 weeks after starting treatment with Eligard. So you may notice symptoms of your prostate cancer begin to improve at this time.
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Do I Have To Store Eligard
No, you shouldnt have to store Eligard. Youll receive Eligard as an injection in a doctors office or hospital. Usually, the doctors office or hospital will supply the medication for you.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about how to prepare for your appointment to receive your Eligard injection.
Lupron Depot Is Formulated With Lyophilized Microsphere Technology Gradually Releasing Active Drug From Each Microsphere Over Time111
- The active drug, leuprolide acetate, is embedded in microcapsules composed of a biodegradable, hydrophobic polymer to overcome high solubility in body fluids and rapid excretion in vivo1,11
- Leuprolide is released in two phases in vivo: diffusion and bioerosion, gradually releasing active drug from each microsphere over time1,11
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Can I Exercise While Im Using Eligard
Yes, you can exercise while youre using Eligard. In fact, a study of males* taking hormone therapy such as Eligard for prostate cancer showed that exercise may be beneficial. Exercise can lead to positive changes, such as fat loss and increased muscle strength.
However, taking Eligard may make you feel uncomfortable or tired, so you might not feel like exercising. You also may not be able to work out easily if you have back pain or certain other symptoms from prostate cancer.
Talk with your doctor about exercising safely during your treatment with Eligard. Theyll be able to recommend the right amount of exercise for you to get during your treatment.
* Use of the terms male and female within this article refers to a persons sex assigned at birth.
How The Body Produces Testosterone
There are three major body parts involved in the production of testosterone: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the testicle.
- The hypothalamus is a region in the center of the brain that regulates the bodys autonomic nervous system.
- The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized gland at the base of the brain that is responsible for stimulating other organs to produce regulatory hormones.
- The testicle is a male reproductive organ that produces testosterone and sperm.
The hypothalamus releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone , which stimulates the pituitary gland to release gonadotropins into the bloodstream. Gonadotropins are a set of hormones that include follicle-stimulating hormone , luteinizing hormone , and chorionic gonadotropin . Of the three, LH is the one responsible for signaling the production of testosterone. When LH reaches the Leydig cells in the testicles, testosterone is converted from cholesterol through a process known as testosterone biosynthesis.
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Ask Your Doctor About
- How often will I get an ELIGARD injection?
- Is dosing every 6 months right for me?
- What are the side effects?
- Who should not take ELIGARD?
- Are there any medications or things I should avoid while on ELIGARD?
treating advanced prostate cancer
- What role does testosterone play in my prostate cancer?
- What are the treatment choices for my stage of prostate cancer?
- How will I know if treatment is working?
- Are there additional test I will need throughout my treatment ?
- Can side effects be managed?
- What is the difference between hormonal therapies?
- What is a subcutaneous injection?
living with advanced prostate cancer
- Are there foods I should avoid?
- Should I avoid smoking and/or alcohol?
- Can you suggest an exercise plan for me?
- Are there activities I should avoid?
- Can you suggest ways to manage stress?
- Are there medications or alternative therapies I should avoid?
- How can I find support?
Questions to ask your Doctor
Print this list and bring it to your next appointment to start a conversation with your doctor.
Tips For Managing Common Side Effects
This information doesnt replace the advice of your doctor be sure to talk to your doctor about any side effects you have or lifestyle changes you make during treatment.
Hot flashes may feel like a sudden rush of warmth in the face, neck, chest, and back. They may last a few seconds to a few hours. Talk to your doctor if you have hot flashes they may be able to help.
Fatigue can feel like extreme tiredness, exhaustion, or even having a hard time concentrating. There are many causes of fatigue, including inactivity, poor sleep, and side effects from drugs like ELIGARD. You can do many easy things to cope with fatigue:
- Talk to your doctor to determine the cause
- Get enough rest
- Take short walks and exercise, if possible
- Eat foods that help with energy
- Try stress-relieving activities
You may get lightheaded when blood vessels in the brain dilate . Alcohol, excitement, high temperatures, hyperventilation , and certain medicines can also cause dizziness. Call your doctor if you feel any of the following, which may be a side effect or possibly something more serious:
You may experience other side effects and should always tell your doctor about how you are feeling when receiving ELIGARD.
Additional side effects have been reported with ELIGARD. Please see additional Important Safety Information for ELIGARD.
Important Safety Information
Please see Full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information.
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