Talking Lupron, the Chemical Castration Drug


Lupron was developed to fight prostate cancer. However, it's most often used now off-label. It's used for egg harvesting purposes; it's used for IVF. In those cases, though still problematic to be sure, it's used short-term. But it's the long-term use of Lupron we're talking about today.

To my knowledge, the first long-term use of Lupron was for the purposes of chemical castration of male sex offenders. Indeed, Alan Turing was put on Lupron as part of his sentencing for this purpose. It was considered a humane alternative to physical castration. I guess I see the logic of that. Probably because of the purpose of this use, there was very little research on the effects of the long-term use of this drug. When the drug began to be used, starting about 25 years ago, for the fairly rare condition of "precocious puberty" (think puberty starting at age 5 due to hormonal system dysregulation), that neglect continued.

But Lupron now has a new long-term use: as a puberty blocker for gender dysphoric teens. It's sold as a harmless "pause" to puberty, easily reversible--just stop the drug and puberty supposedly will simply re-start. No harm, no foul.

Or so many have said. The reality is not as benign. I'm reviewing the book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier for the Spring issue of SquareTwo, and was catalyzed by it to take more of a look at Lupron.

One article I've found, from 2017, uncovers that those on the drug for precocious puberty have developed some very alarming health problems:

"[One woman] says she took Lupron from age 5 to 12 to shut down early puberty. At 30, she’s among the first patients who took the drug — even before it was approved for pediatric use. She says now that she’s had more surgeries than her 79-year-old father, and suffers from a blood disorder and bone and joint problems.

""More than 10,000 adverse event reports filed with the FDA reflect the experiences of women who’ve taken Lupron. The reports describe everything from brittle bones to faulty joints. . . they also described conditions that usually affect people much later in life. A 20-year-old from South Carolina was diagnosed with osteopenia, a thinning of the bones, while a 25-year-old from Pennsylvania has osteoporosis and a cracked spine. A 26-year-old in Massachusetts needed a total hip replacement. A 25-year-old in Wisconsin has chronic pain and degenerative disc disease.

"[T]housands of women have joined Facebook groups or internet forums in recent years claiming that Lupron ruined their lives or left them crippled. But the FDA has yet to issue additional warnings about pediatric use, and unapproved uses of the drugs persist."

That's an understatement: over the last 5 years, prescriptions for Lupron have sky-rocketed for the purposes of blocking puberty as a means of addressing gender dysphoria. In addition to the above-mentioned side effects, of course Lupron also does its job as a chemical castration drug--no orgasms, no libido.

There's more. Much more. I won't even touch on why the use of this drug in IVF is so troubling. Read up on it.

One thing I've vowed to myself: I will no longer refer to Lupron and other drugs like it as "puberty blockers." That's a clear obfuscation. In an act of quiet subversion, I will call Lupron etc. "chemical castration drugs"--for that is what they are.