Doctors and Patients Question the Safety of Lupron

Dangerous drugs

By Nathan Williams, staff writer.

Over the last several decades, artificial hormones have become a popular treatment option for everything from birth control to cancer. While other pharmaceutical drugs like Xarelto and Zofran command more media attention, many doctors and patients warn that the artificial hormone Lupron is dangerous, with some going as far to call it poison.

Of the 12,000 cases of adverse effects of Lupron reported to the FDA, 1,100 have been fatal.

Approved by the FDA in 1985 to treat the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, Lupron has since been approved to help control the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women and help treat early puberty in both boys and girls.

Known as a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (GnRH analog), Lupron “down-regulates” gonadotropin secretion for as long as it is administered to the patient. It’s also been widely used as a “down regulator” for women undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment. The drug is administered as a daily shot, but patients can also choose an extended release injection that lasts 30 days.

"Lupron should be taken off the market"

Despite its widespread use, some doctors believe the drug to be dangerous and argue its risks far outweigh any benefits. One doctor who is also a former officer with the FDA goes as far to say that Lupron should be taken off the market altogether.

“After its introduction into the marketplace, Takada Abbot Pharmaceuticals (TAP) did not perform enough long-term studies to detect potential long-term and irreversible side effects of Lupron,” explains Dr. John L. Gueriguian in a report filed as part of a liability lawsuit in 2008.

Dr. Gueriguian and others explain how the drug causes a host of devastating and irreversible side effects, including:

  • Birth defects
  • Swelling and rapid weight gain
  • Bone pain
  • Urination problems

According to a news report from a local ABC affiliate in Las Vegas, TAP plead guilty in 2001 to violating the Federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act. The company was subsequently ordered to pay $875 million to settle claims that it paid doctors to promote the drug. One doctor eventually admitted to falsifying research reports.

In the end, Dr. Gueriguian recommends that initial Lupron injections be limited to six and that any follow-ups be limited to six injections. Lupron should also not be given to women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, or women who are breast feeding, and it should be administered with extreme caution in patients with allergies to similar drugs like Leuprolide, Buserelin and others.       

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