Lupron, commonly known as "leuprolide acetate" or "long lupron," is a fertility medication used to treat infertility, prostate cancer in men, heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) or for advanced endometriosis.
For many fertility practitioners, Lupron is the selected fertility drug and is the choice for in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a fertility treatment process by which the egg cells are mixed with male sperm in a dish. These fertilized eggs are then placed into the woman's uterus to allow for a healthy pregnancy. In the case of an IVF procedure, the eggs are fertilized outside of the womb. Lupron is known to be beneficial to prepare the ovaries to stimulate egg production, often in conjunction with other fertility drugs for an IVF fertility treatment.
How Lupron Is Administered
Lupron is administered either through subcutaneous (injected directly beneath the skin) or intramuscular (directly into a muscle) injection in the thigh or abdominal area. It is normally given either as a down regulator for stimulation (given after ovulation for seven days, twice per day) or with the Garcia "Flare" method (given once daily starting on the second day of the menstruation cycle). The doctor will recommend and instruct the proper dosage and freqency, depending on the individual.
How Lupron Treats Infertility
Lupron stimulates the pituitary gland (the gland that triggers ovulation), which is the "flare phase," and then will suppress the "down regulated phase". Lupron works as a GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) that produces FSH and LH agonist (triggers a response). FSH is the follicle stimulating hormone and LH is the lutenising hormone (forms corpora lutea to secrete progesterone and estrogen). Progesterone is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
By stimulating the ovaries, more quality eggs can be retrieved for the in vitro fertility treatment. Success rates for this type of fertility treatment will be higher, as often more eggs are produced and available. The odds are that more of the eggs will respond to the treatment to better allow for a successful pregnancy.
After the stimulation process, Lupron basically closes down the body's reproductive hormone system. By turning off the ovaries, the doctor will be able to control the amount of stimulation according to the injections of fertility medication. The physician will instruct the individual as to when to use the Lupron and when it is best to stop. The cessation of the drug is usually after ovulation has been started.
The Job of the Infertility Specialist
The job of the infertility specialist is to assess the patient and decide which fertility drug is the best suited for them, along with proper dosages, as other fertility drugs do exist. The patient must be monitored carefully because these types of fertility medications do carry their share of possible side effects and risks.