megestrol, Megace, Megace ES

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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.



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.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Indinavir (Crixivan) reduces blood concentrations of megestrol. An increase in the dose of megestrol should be considered.

PREGNANCY: Megestrol may cause birth defects and should not be administered to pregnant women. Women should use contraception while taking megestrol.

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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