Foreign Brand Name: Firmagon
A long-acting, synthetic peptide with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonistic properties. Degarelix targets and blocks GnRH receptors located on the surfaces of gonadotroph cells in the anterior pituitary, thereby reducing secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) by pituitary gonadotroph cells and so decreasing testosterone production by interstitial (Leydig) cells in the testes.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Degarelix injection is used to treat advanced prostate cancer (cancer that begins in the prostate [a male reproductive gland]). Degarelix injection is in a class of medications called gonadotropin-releasing (GnRH) receptor antagonists. It works by decreasing the amount of testosterone (a male hormone) produced by the body. This may slow or stop the spread of prostate cancer cells that need testosterone to grow.
How should this medicine be used?
Degarelix injection comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected under the skin in the stomach area, away from the ribs and waistline. It is usually injected once every 28 days by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility.
After you receive a dose of degarelix injection, be sure that your belt or waistband does not put pressure on the place where the medication was injected.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine:
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to degarelix injection, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in degarelix injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the patient information for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), quinidine, procainamide, or sotalol. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had long QT syndrome (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death); high or low levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, or sodium in your blood; or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
- women who are or who may become pregnant should not receive degarelix injection. Degarelix injection may harm the fetus. If you receive degarelix injection while you are pregnant, call your doctor immediately. If you are breast-feeding, talk to your doctor before you receive degarelix injection.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss an appointment to receive a dose of degarelix injection, call your doctor right away.
What side effects can this medication cause?
- pain, redness, swelling, hardness, or itching in the place where the medication was injected
- hot flashes
- excessive sweating or night sweats
- weight gain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- enlargement of the breasts
- decreased sexual desire or ability
- back or joint pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- fluttering feeling in the chest
- painful, frequent, or difficult urination
- fever or chills
Degarelix injection may cause your bones to become weaker and more brittle than they were at the beginning of your treatment. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Degarelix injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.
*Source: National Cancer Institute
*Source: Medline Plus