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Your doctor has recommended a medication called prostap (leuprorelin) as treatment for your illness. This page provides extra information about your medicine, summarises possible side effects and methods to alleviate them

What is in Prostap Leuprorelin contained within a slow release microsphere suspension  which is given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection around the area of the abdomen. The active chemical is released into the blood stream at a constant level over a one or three month period depending on the strength used (3.75mg for one month, 11.25 mg for three months).  Prostap belongs to group of medicines called "LHRH agonists" and have the effect of reducing the bodies hormones which are made in the testes in men and ovaries in women. They are used to treat female patients with Breast cancer and male patients with prostate cancer.

How do they work? Some tumours such as breast & prostate cancer are stimulated by the bodies own hormones. For men this is testosterone from the testes and women oestrogen form the ovaries. Stopping the bodies hormones reaching the tumour can cause the cancer cells to stop growing and in some cases shrivel up and die completely (self destruct - apoptosis).. One straightforward way of doing this is to surgically remove the ovaries or testis. Some drug therapies chemically do the same thing by blocking the signal from the brain to the ovaries or testis - these include leuprorelin (prostap), More specifically prostatp lowers the production of two hormones called Luteinising Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which normally maintain the level of testosterone and Oestrogen. The amount of LH and FSH produced by the body is governed by another hormone called Luteinising Hormone Releasing Hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland. As prostap blocks these production and hence is sometimes called a LHRH agonist

How will I & the doctor know they are working? In most cases there is something the doctor can measure. This may be how you feel, a symptom related to you cancer, something which can be felt on examination (e.g. a lump) are something seen on a scan or xray. After 2-3 months a formal assessment of response is usually performed before continuing the tablets indefinitely - This may well involve repeating the xrays or scans. Foe prostate cancer there is a blood test called PSA, the level of which will get lower if you are responding.

The possible side effects All medications have side effects. These can effect some people more than others. It its hard to predict the level and type of side effect for each individual. Listed below are an overview of the more common side effects you may encounter, however, you may experience none, all, or only a few of these. You may also have a rare side effect not listed here - If you become aware of any other side effects, please report them to your clinic.

If side effects are severe, you may have to stop taking the drug and a different hormonal drug may be prescribed.

  • Flushes and sweats These are not usually prominent. Sometimes the flushes will gradually lessen over the first few months but some people continue to have them for as long as they take prostap. There are a number of ways to help reduce or control hot flushes and sweats. Some people find it helpful to avoid or cut down on tea, coffee, nicotine and alcohol. Evening primrose oil has been reported to be helpful in reducing sweats but it does not work for all people and it is  expensive. There are also a lot of calories in Evening Primrose Oil so it may be fattening. When zoladex is stopped hot flushes can get worse before they get better.
  • Sex drive (libido) Prostap in men has a significant impact on sex drive. In most cases in impairs the ability to have erections
  • Lethargy  It is common to have mild lethargy with Prostap - it is most severe at the beginning but can wear off over time. See coping with lethargy
  • Nausea and indigestion   Feelings of mild sickness (nausea) and indigestion can occur rarely but t usually wears off after a few weeks. see diet and indigestion
  • Weight gain Weight gain can be a side effect of prostap and this is sometimes due to water retention but at other times a consequence of a eating more either due to a increased appetite or mild nausea - "to settle the stomach" . See coping with weight gain.
  • Breast swelling (gynaecomastia) - occasionally in men the breast can become tender and enlarge (this can be prevented by a low dose of radiotherapy to the nipples as soon as it start). 

    Less common side effects include:-

  • Allergic reactions – this may include skin rashes

  • Temporary thinning of the hair

  • Headaches – some people affected by migraine have noticed a change in the pattern of their headaches

Other issues There is no interaction between prostap  and moderate amounts of alcohol. Prostap do not usually affect your ability to drive.        Some people find that when they start Prostap that with the first treatment they experience a temporary increase in bone pain. This is due to the Prostap causing a surge in FSH and LH levels, which initially creates an increase in the production of testosterone. To prevent this additional oral medication is normally given for the first two weeks (usually either Casodex, Flutamide or Cyproterone acetate)

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey. Home | Cancer management | Cancer treatments - Chemotherapy Radiotherapy  Hormones  Biologicals | Complementary | Lifestyle - Exercise  Diet  Smoking  Sun | Tests for cancer | Books | Videos | Travel | Insurance | Symptoms | Side effects | Clinical trials | Glossary | Support groups & links | About cancer | About us | Disclaimer

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