Eligard is indicated for the treatment of hormone dependent advanced prostate cancer and for the treatment of high risk localised and locally advanced hormone dependent prostate cancer in combination with radiotherapy. It is available in six-monthly (45mg), three-monthly (22.5mg) and one- monthly (7.5mg) formulations.
What is Eligard?
- Eligard (leuprolide) overstimulates the body's own production of certain hormones, which causes that production to shut down temporarily. Leuprolide reduces the amount of testosterone in men or estrogen in women.
- Eligard injectable suspension is used in men to treat the symptoms of prostate cancer.
- Eligard treats only the symptoms of prostate cancer and does not treat the cancer itself.
- Your symptoms may become temporarily worse when you first start using Eligard. Tell your doctor if this continues for longer than 2 months.
- Call your doctor at once if you have a seizure, or unusual changes in mood or behavior.
- Eligard is for use in males. Other brands of leuprolide are used by women.
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.
- 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;
- seizures or epilepsy;
- a brain tumor or blood vessel disorder;
- heart disease, congestive heart failure, long QT syndrome;
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood); or
- risk factors for bone loss (personal or family history of osteoporosis, smoking, alcohol use, taking steroid or seizure medicines long term).
Leuprolide usually causes women to stop ovulating or having menstrual periods. However, you may still be able to get pregnant. Use a barrier form of birth control (condom or diaphragm with spermicide). Hormonal contraception (birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings) may not be effective enough to prevent pregnancy during your treatment.
How should I use Eligard?
- Eligard injectable suspension is injected under the skin, once every month or once every 3 to 6 months. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
- Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
- Store Eligardin the refrigerator. Do not freeze. You may take the medicine out and allow it to reach room temperature before mixing and injecting your dose. Mixed medicine must be used within 30 minutes.
- You may also store Eligard in its original packaging at room temperature for up to 8 weeks.
- Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container.
What happens if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.
Eligard side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Eligard: (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- bone pain, loss of movement in any part of your body;
- swelling, rapid weight gain;
- a seizure;
- unusual changes in mood or behavior (crying spells, anger, feeling irritable);
- sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or hack;
- painful or difficult urination; or
- high blood sugar - increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor.
Rare but serious side effects may occur. Call your doctor if you have:
- pain or unusual sensations in your back, numbness, weakness, or tingly feeling in your legs or feet;
- muscle weakness or loss of use, loss of bowel or bladder control;
- heart attack symptoms - chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating; or
- signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech.
Common Eligard side effects may include:
- hot flashes, sweating, acne, rash, itching, scaly skin;
- mood changes;
- headache, general pain;
- vaginal swelling, itching, or discharge;
- breakthrough bleeding;
- weight gain;
- decreased testicle size; or
- redness, pain, swelling, or oozing where the shot was given.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
What other drugs will affect Eligard?
Eligard can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time, such as antibiotics, antifungal medicine, antidepressants, anti-malaria medicine, asthma inhalers, antipsychotic medicine, cancer medicine, certain HIV/AIDS medicine, heart or blood pressure medicine, or medicine to prevent vomiting. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
- Before starting leuprolide treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category X (leuprolide may cause fetal harm when given to a pregnant woman. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant while taking leuprolide, the medication must be stopped immediately and the woman given appropriate counseling).
For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking leuprolide. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
- Do not breast feed while taking this medication.
- If you are experiencing hot flashes, wearing light clothing, staying in a cool environment, and putting cool cloths on your head may reduce symptoms. Consult you health care provider if these worsen, or become intolerable.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking leuprolide, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) may also be ordered by your doctor.