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Leuprolide Acetate for Fertility Preservation

This information describes the use of leuprolide acetate (LOO-pro-lyde ASS-e-tate), also known as Lupron®, for fertility preservation.

Some chemotherapy drugs can affect fertility. This can make it more difficult to become pregnant in the future and can also cause premature (early) menopause.  

Studies looking at the use of leuprolide acetate to protect the ovaries from chemotherapy have had conflicting results. Some show a benefit and some show no benefit, so we don’t know if leuprolide acetate will be helpful for you. Having your eggs collected before you begin treatment is another option to preserve fertility. If you are interested in learning about this, speak with your cancer doctor to see if this may be an option for you.

How it Is Given

Leuprolide acetate is given by injection intramuscularly (IM), or into your muscle.

The medication is usually started 1 to 2 weeks before you begin your chemotherapy. It is given once a month during the entire time you are being treated. You can get the medication from your own gynecologist or you can get it here at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).

Side Effects

  • Irregular bleeding is common for a few weeks after the first injection. After that time, you will probably have no menstrual periods, but light spotting can occur
  • Hot flashes and sweating
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Tiredness
  • Decreased bone density (bone loss)
  • Mild nausea (rare)
  • Joint pain

Special Points

  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking any other medications or have changed medications. Some can affect the way leuprolide acetate works. Include:
    • Medications that require a prescription
    • Medications that don’t require a prescription (over the counter)
    • Herbal remedies
    • Vitamins
    •  Dietary supplements
  • This medication should not be taken if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor immediately if you think you may be pregnant. 
  • ​If you are sexually active, you should use birth control while on this medication. Make an appointment with your gynecologist, and speak with him or her about choosing an option that will be safe and effective for you.
    • If you can take hormonal birth control, this may also treat the menopausal side effects you will most likely have from leuprolide acetate.
    • If you cannot take hormonal birth control, you can use a copper-T IUD, diaphragm, or condom.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • Heavy bleeding or regular periods after 2 treatments
  • A sudden headache, vomiting, or change in your vision
  • Any unexpected or unexplained problems
  • Any questions or concerns

The information on this card does not cover all possible side effects; others can occur. Please report any problems to your doctor.