Zoladex is a synthetic hormone that controls a number of body’s processes. It overstimulates the body to produce some hormones, which eventually causes the body to temporally shut down. It’s a prescription drug which is used for:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Thinning the lining of the uterus (endometrium) in preparation for endometrial ablation
- Fibroids in the uterus before surgery in combination with iron in a female who is anemic
- Prepare the pituitary gland prior treatment with fertility shots to induce ovulation in assisted reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization
The physician may put you on the drug for other conditions which have not been outlined in the article. If you haven’t discussed why you are on the medicine, it’s important to speak to the health care practitioner to understand why you are taking the drug. Please take note that while on the medication, you are at risk of Zoladex side effects.
How does the drug work?
The drug belongs to a group of medications known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist and contains goserelin as the active ingredient. It comes as an implant that is inserted with a syringe under the skin preferably in the stomach area by a nurse or a doctor in a hospital. An implant with 3.6 mg strength is inserted every four weeks. As for the implant of 10.8 mg strength, it’s inserted every 12 weeks. The length of the treatment is determined by the condition being treated for and how one responds to the medication; the medical care provider will advise on how long you should use the drug.
Goserelin acetate acts on the pituitary gland, at first, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) is increased. However, chronic administration of the medicine eventually desensitizes the gland. Hence, production of FSH and LH is reduced which in turn stops or minimizes the production of estrogen in women and testosterone in men. The reduction of these hormones is taken advantage of and the conditions outlined at the begging of the article are managed; this is because most of the ailments depend on estrogen or testosterone to grow and spread. It’s important to take note that at first, the symptoms of the ailment being treated for worsens or new ones develop. For example, in the case of prostate cancer, the drug causes urinary obstruction and bone pain before the tumors begin to shrink. It’s advisable to report to the medical care provider if you experience new symptoms or the existing ones become worse.
Zoladex side effects
From over the counter medications to the sophisticated prescription drugs on the market, all medicines come with negative effects. Perhaps the usual set of unwanted effects for the drugs taken orally affects the gastrointestinal system. Nearly any medication can lead to nausea, or stomach upset, although it may occur to a few users. There are different types of undesired effects as a result of any drug such as:
- Allergic reaction which may range from itching to rash and can become fatal anaphylactic reaction.
- Unwanted effects due to chemical structure of a medication.
- Negative effects which occur when medicines are mixed with other substances like alcohol; this may be considered as a drug interaction.
Side effects of Zoladex are many; they may be minor, a number of them may be just an inconvenience, some are serious and others are just rare. In short, Zoladex will affect patients differently. There is no way to know the undesired effect which you may encounter while on the drug, it depends on a number of factors like:
- The dosage of the drug
- Your age – older adults are more prone to negative effects
- Your weight
- Gender if male or female
- Medical history such as existing health conditions
Some undesired effects
- Hot flashes
- Lack of energy
- Loss appetite
- Breast pain
- Decreased libido
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal discharge, dryness, or itching
- Swelling of the hands, ankles, feet or lower legs
- Experiencing difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
- Frequent mood changes
- Redness, swelling, pain, itching at the spot where the implant is inserted
- Unusual weight gain
- Dry mouth
If worried about the unfavorable effects, consult the physician or the pharmacist, but remember if the doctor has prescribed the medicine, you will benefit from the drugs when compared to the unwanted effects.
Warnings and Precautions
- If you have breast cancer, prostate cancer, and endometriosis, starting the therapy may lead to a rise of estrogen and testosterone, in women, estrogen supports the growth of breast cancer and endo, whereas in men testosterone fuels prostate cancer; cancer and endo symptoms may get worse in the first few weeks.
- Goserelin may raise blood sugar levels and puts the patient at risk of developing diabetes. For patients with existing diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels may be more difficult; the males are more prone to this. Hence while on the medication, the physician will check your blood sugar regularly; you will also monitor the levels at home
- The drug may lower bone mineral density, making the risk of developing osteoporosis higher. You may be at a greater risk if you drink alcohol, smoke, have a history of osteoporosis or use steroids. Consult the health care practitioner on your individual risk.
- The medicine may harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects if used during pregnancy. Before the physician prescribes the drug, he will do a pregnancy test to confirm you aren’t pregnant. In the course of the treatment with Goserelin, use non-hormonal birth control during the treatment and 12 weeks after the therapy to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Nonetheless, pregnant women with advanced breast cancer are sometimes given the drug.
- The drug may lead to irregular heart rate known as Q-T prolongation which may be accompanied by feeling dizzy or faint. People with serious heart conditions should be closely monitored if they have to take Goserelin. Men are at risk of heart attack and stroke, thus should check with the health professional if they experience chest pain, discomfort, confusion, double vision, headaches, trouble speaking.
- The medication may cause severe allergic reaction. Seek medical help immediately if you experience rash, itching, trouble breathing or swallowing