- What is medroxyprogesterone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for medroxyprogesterone?
- Is medroxyprogesterone available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for medroxyprogesterone?
- What are the side effects of medroxyprogesterone?
- What is the dosage for medroxyprogesterone?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with medroxyprogesterone?
- Is medroxyprogesterone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about medroxyprogesterone?
What is medroxyprogesterone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Progestins and estrogens are the two major classes of female hormones. Medroxyprogesterone is a derivative of the naturally occurring female progestin, progesterone. Progestins are responsible for changes in the mucus and inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) during the second half (secretory phase) of the menstrual cycle. Progestins prepare the endometrium for implantation of the embryo. Once an embryo implants in the endometrium and pregnancy occurs, progestins help maintain the pregnancy. At high doses, progestins can prevent ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary) and thereby prevent pregnancy. Progestins were first isolated in 1933, and progesterone itself was synthesized in the 1940s.
What brand names are available for medroxyprogesterone?
Provera, Depo-Provera, Depo-Sub Q Provera 104
Is medroxyprogesterone available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for medroxyprogesterone?
What are the side effects of medroxyprogesterone?
Breast tenderness and leakage of liquid from the nipple occur rarely with medroxyprogesterone. Various skin reactions, including hives, acne, hair growth and hair loss, also have been reported occasionally. Break-through bleeding (menstrual-like bleeding in the middle of the menstrual cycle), vaginal spotting of blood, changes in menstrual flow, increased or decreased weight, nausea, fever, insomnia, and jaundice have all been reported.
Blood clots are an occasional serious side effect of progestin therapy, and cigarette smokers are at a higher risk for clots. Therefore, females requiring progestin therapy are strongly encouraged to quit smoking.
People with diabetes may experience difficulty controlling blood glucose when taking medroxyprogesterone for unclear reasons. Therefore, increased monitoring of blood sugar and adjustment of medications for diabetes is recommended.
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study found an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, breast cancer, blood clots, and pulmonary emboli (blood clots that lodge in the lungs) in postmenopausal women (50 to 79 years of age) who took medroxyprogesterone in combination with estrogens for 5 years, as well as an increased risk of dementia in the women over age 65. Therefore, medroxyprogesterone should not be used for the prevention of heart disease or dementia. Although medroxyprogesterone alone has not been demonstrated to promote breast cancer, since breast cancer has progesterone receptors, physicians usually avoid using progestins in women who have had breast cancer.
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