Published: Sept. 26, 2008
Updated: Sept. 8, 2010
Lupron is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, which means it should stimulate the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland.
What is seen, in actuality, is a paradoxical effect. After an initial stimulation of gonadotropin release, Lupron actually prevents release of FSH and LH. This is the desired clinical application of Lupron in an ovarian stimulation cycle.
By preventing the pituitary gland from stimulating the ovaries with FSH, and preventing LH from triggering ovulation, the ovaries are effectively "turned off." This allows your physician to control the amount of ovarian stimulation by the amount of medication you inject.
Ovulation is also not likely without the surge of LH that is also blocked by Lupron. When the follicles are ready, ovulation can be triggered by giving human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which has structural similarities to LH.
After ovulation has been triggered there is no further need to continue Lupron.
At the start of a cycle you will be instructed when to take your Lupron. At the start of a cycle you will be taking 10 units or 0.1 ml. You may be on Lupron for one week or several weeks depending on when your cycle is scheduled.
This interval of time doesn't alter anything with your cycle since your ovaries are "turned off."
When your next menses occurs (full flow, not spotting) you will need to contact the clinic. If it is a weekend or holiday you should continue taking your Lupron and contact the clinic on the next business day.
If you have not had a menses after 14 days from when you started the Lupron, you will need to contact our clinic during business hours. When you start taking your gonadotropins, you will be instructed to decrease your dose to five units or 0.05 ml.
Lupron is administered subcutaneously (just under the skin). You will take Lupron starting from the day of your baseline ultrasound up to the time that you are instructed to inject HCG (two days prior to retrieval).
You will most likely need two vials to last you through the cycle. Lupron costs about $300 for a two-week supply. We recommend you fill your prescription prior to your baseline ultrasound and pregnancy test.
A Lupron flare takes advantage of the early stimulatory effects caused by Lupron. By lowering the dose and fractionating it into two doses it is believed there may be less suppression from the Lupron and there may be a "booster" effect.
Directions for the Lupron flare are as follows:
Side effects you may experience while taking Lupron include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and headaches. If these side effects occur they will usually resolve after you start taking gonadotropins.
Learn more about fertility medications below.