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Triptorelin (Decapeptyl SR, Gonapeptyl Depot)

This page tells you about the hormone therapy drug triptorelin and its possible side effects. There is information about

 

What triptorelin is

Triptorelin is a type of hormone therapy drug used to treat prostate cancer. Researchers are also looking into it as a treatment for breast cancer.

Triptorelin is a type of hormone therapy drug called a gonadotropin releasing hormone blocker. It is also called Decapeptyl SR or Gonapeptyl Depot. It lowers the level of testosterone in men and oestrogen in women. It does this by stopping the release of luteinising hormone from the pituitary gland. In men, this stops the testicles producing the male sex hormone, testosterone. In women, it stops the ovaries from producing oestrogen.

Prostate cancer depends on testosterone, to grow. Hormone therapies that lower the level of testosterone can slow down the growth of cancer or shrink it.

Some breast cancers depend on oestrogen to grow. Lowering the level of oestrogen can slow or stop the growth of the cancer.

 

How you have triptorelin

You have triptorelin either

  • As an injection into a muscle (usually in your bottom)
  • As an injection just under the skin of your tummy

You may have the injections every 4 weeks, 12 weeks or 26 weeks.

You should try to make sure you have the injection on time. A few days won’t make a big difference but the aim is to stop you producing testosterone. If you are late having the injection your levels of testosterone may start to go up again.

We have general information about hormone therapies in the cancer treatment section.

The side effects associated with triptorelin are listed below. You can use the links to find out more about each effect. For general information, see our cancer drug side effects section.

 

Common side effects

More than 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.

  • Tumour flare causing increased pain or difficulty passing urine for the first few weeks – about 1 in 5 men have bone pain (20%). Your doctor may give you another hormone drug to start with, to try to prevent this
  • Hot flushes and sweats – 3 out of 5 men (60%) have this, caused by the fall in testosterone levels. It lasts as long as treatment continues for some men. Tell your doctor or nurse if the flushes or sweats are difficult to cope with
  • Decreased interest in having sex (low libido)
  • Breast tenderness and swelling – this occurs in about 3 out of 10 men (30%) and can be distressing. To try to prevent it your doctor may suggest a small dose of radiotherapy to the chest area before treatment.
  • Problems getting an erection (impotence) – this is because you don’t produce testosterone while you have treatment. It usually gets better within 3 to 12 months of finishing treatment
  • Mild allergic reactions causing itching, skin rashes and a high temperature
  • Painful joints
  • Tiredness (fatigue) during and after treatment – most people find their energy levels are back to normal within 6 months to a year
  • Headaches – these occur in just over 1 in 10 men (10%)
  • Weakness
 

Occasional side effects

Between 1 and 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.

  • Bruising, swelling and pain in the area where you have the injection
  • Anxiety
  • Depression that can be severe and mood changes – let your doctor know if you have this
  • Feeling or being sick – this is usually mild and can be controlled by anti sickness medicines
  • Weight gain – you may find you put on weight easily. You should be able to control this with diet and exercise, but it is sometimes a struggle to keep weight down when you are having hormone treatment
  • Changes in blood pressure – during treatment your blood pressure may be lower or higher than usual. Your nurse or doctor will check this regularly. Most people can continue taking triptorelin, and their blood pressure usually goes back to normal either during treatment or when their treatment ends
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Fluid build up causing swelling in arms, legs or other areas of the body
 

Rare side effects

Fewer than 1 in 100 people have these.

  • Bone weakening can happen with long term treatment
  • A severe allergic reaction causing fever, chills, shivering (rigors), headaches, and swelling of your lips, face, throat or tongue – let your doctor or specialist nurse know straight away if you have this
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Tummy (abdominal) pain
  • Constipation – drink plenty of fluids and let your doctor or nurse know if you are constipated for more than 3 days
  • Diarrhoea – drink plenty of fluids and let your doctor or nurse know if the diarrhoea continues
  • Severe pain and swelling in the joints of the toes (gout)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rashes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Itching
 

Important points to remember

You won’t get all these side effects. A side effect may get worse through your course of treatment. Or you may have more side effects as the course goes on. This depends on

  • How many times you've had a drug before
  • Your general health
  • How much of the drug you have (the dose)
  • Other drugs you are having

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so they can help you manage them. They can give you advice or reassure you. Your nurse will give you a contact number to ring if you have any questions or problems. If in doubt, call them.

Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies – some drugs can react together.

 

More information about triptorelin

This page does not list all the very rare side effects of this treatment that are very unlikely to affect you. For further information look at the Electronic Medicines Compendium website at www.medicines.org.uk.

If you have a side effect not mentioned here that you think may be due to this treatment you can report it to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) at www.mhra.gov.uk.

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Updated: 17 May 2013