Lupron (leuprolide acetate) is often prescribed for endometriosis because it dramatically lowers estrogen levels by regulating the body's production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The uterine lining is highly dependent upon estrogen for growth.
It is also prescribed in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. In IVF treatment, when a patient is on the "luteal Lupron" protocol she usually starts Lupron seven days prior to her next menstrual cycle. Dosages are adjusted based upon each patient's individual response.
How Lupron Works
Lupron essentially "shuts down" the body's reproductive hormone system.
While shut down, IVF patients use a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) drug like Gonal-F or Follistim, to cause the recruitment and development of follicles. Dosages of FSH are adjusted based upon each patient's response and it is continued until the follicles are mature.
When Lupron is first administered there is a characteristic initial increase in FSH for several days followed by suppression. Lupron is administered on day 2 on the menstrual cycle and FSH is added to take advantage of this initial surge in FSH.
Ovulation cannot occur naturally while on Lupron because LH, which triggers ovulation, is suppressed. This prevents a premature surge of the LH before the retrieval, which could cause loss of the cycle. Once the eggs are mature, an injection of Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or LH is given to stimulate ovulation. Egg retrieval is scheduled 35 hours later.
Possible Lupron Side Effects
Common side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or nausea; dizziness or headache; hot flashes; and trouble sleeping.