Memory complaints associated with the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists: a preliminary study

Fertil Steril. 1996 Jun;65(6):1253-5. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(16)58351-4.


Objectives: To study the effect of GnRH agonist (GnRH-a) treatment on memory and to assess the role of psychological factors.

Design: A randomized prospective study.

Setting: An academic teaching hospital.

Participants: Women with endometriosis and infertility or endometriosis alone.

Main outcome measures: Memory Observation Questionnaire, Profile of Mood States, Health Concerns scale, a weekly diary of adverse effects.

Results: Perceived memory functioning decreased during GnRH-a administration and by the final week of treatment 44% of women reported moderate to marked impairment in comparison to community norms. Prospective memory was most affected and withdrawal of GnRH-a treatment resulted in a return to normal memory functioning. Impairment was not related to excessive health concerns or mood changes and was uncorrelated with other adverse effects.

Conclusions: Memory disruption may be a more common side effect of GnRH-a treatment than currently is recognized. Problems were temporary and more likely a result of rapid estrogen depletion than a consequence of mood, somatic distress, or personality factors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endometriosis / drug therapy*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leuprolide / adverse effects*
  • Leuprolide / therapeutic use
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Nafarelin / adverse effects*
  • Nafarelin / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies


  • Nafarelin
  • Estradiol
  • Leuprolide