Laying Off the Lupron

There’s new hope for us side-effect-crazed patients.


During the discussion with my cardiologist this month he said: “You have to admit, there are a whole bunch of negatives with Lupron and androgen deprivation side effects… but then again, you have to love the upside.”

Love it? I might not be able to live without it! I thought to myself. It’s the obvious upside that keeps me and thousands of other men trudging through the Lupron gauntlet everyday. I also love that he gave my heart a clean bill of health despite my heart-choking side effects of ADT.

Now, there is promising news that may help many men like me better manage their treatment and possibly their side effects. In my mind, it’s nothing short of a game changer for clinical practice.

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting last month in Chicago, a presentation on Intermittent Androgen Deprivation (IAD) was selected for a Best of ASCO merit. The big news for us patients? Data from a study out of Canada showed that shorter, intermittent eight month cycles of IAD can deliver clinical outcomes that are comparable to continuous androgen deprivation (CAD) for patients whose PSA levels rise to 3 ng/ml or more but whose scans show no metastatic disease (detectable lesions in bone or soft tissue). You can read more about this development in my piece: IAD: Changing the Standard of Care for Men with Recurrent Prostate Cancer.

Needless to say, I find this development VERY encouraging. During my last visit to my oncologist, he spoke of pulling back on my ADT from three years to two years. While my emotions jumped at the idea, I have to admit I was wondered just a little if I would be giving anything up… taking any unnecessary chances. This latest development gives me a heightened sense of confidence with the revised thinking. And, truth be  told, one more year of this most unusual existence is much more palatable than two.

Of course, when I see Dr. Lowe for my quarterly exam next week, I will also be discussing this study to see if, in his opinion, we need to make any further revisions to our plan. My guess is, as this is my first run with ADT, that sticking with two years might be best and that we can assess if IAD is the way to go should my PSA levels start to rise in the future. I need to leave that with my oncologist to consider, but it’s definitely worth asking the question.

Finally, I see some light at the light at the end of the Lupron tunnel.

As I push the “Publish” button on this entry, I am wondering how many other men reading this will be encouraged to consult with their doctors about IAD? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.