megestrol, Megace, Megace ES
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
GENERIC NAME: megestrol
BRAND NAME: Megace, Megace ES
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Megestrol is a synthetic female hormone belonging to the progesterone group. It is used for stimulating appetite and treating breast cancer. Progesterone is a hormone produced by the body, especially in women, that helps control the menstrual period as well as other body functions. How megestrol stimulates appetite or suppresses cancer is not understood. The FDA approved megestrol in September 1993.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 20 and 40 mg. Oral suspension: 40 mg/mL or 125 mg/mL.
STORAGE: Megestrol should be stored in a dry place at room temperature, 15-25 C (5977- F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Megestrol is used for stimulating appetite in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) who have poor appetite, cachexia, or an unexplained significant weight loss. It also is used for treating breast cancer and weight loss associated with cancer.
DOSING: The recommended dose for stimulating appetite is 800 mg per day of the regular megestrol suspension (40 mg/ml) or 625 mg per day of the ES formulation (125 mg/ml). Breast cancer is treated with 40 mg four times daily.
NURSING MOTHERS: Megestrol should not be used while breastfeeding due to potential adverse effects in the infant.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects are diarrhea, weight gain, nausea, rash, impotency, insomnia, mood swings, sweating, breakthrough menstrual bleeding, high blood pressure, and the production of excess gas (flatulence). Blood clots in legs and lungs may occur. Megestrol may worsen existing diabetes or lead to new onset diabetes.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 3/21/2012
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