- 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
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.
Quick GuideMenopause & Perimenopause: Symptoms, Signs
What is the dosage for medroxyprogesterone?
The usual dose of medroxyprogesterone tablets is 5 or 10 mg daily.
- Secondary amenorrhea is treated for 5 to 10 days.
- Uterine bleeding is treated for 5 to 10 days beginning on day 16 or 21 of the menstrual cycle.
- Endometrial hyperplasia is treated for 12 to 14 consecutive days beginning on day 1 or 16 of the menstrual cycle.
- The dose for contraception is 150 mg every 3 months injected intramuscularly or 104 mg injected subcutaneously every 3 months.
- The dose for endometrial or renal cancer is 400-1000 mg weekly initially followed by monthly maintenance doses.
Which drugs or supplements interact with medroxyprogesterone?
: Aminoglutethimide (Cytadren) may increase the elimination of medroxyprogesterone by the liver leading to a decrease in the concentration of medroxyprogesterone in blood and possibly a reduction in the effectiveness of the medroxyprogesterone.
Is medroxyprogesterone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Medroxyprogesterone inhibits fertility at high doses. It should not be given during pregnancy.
Medroxyprogesterone is secreted in breast milk. The effect on the infant has not been determined.
What else should I know about medroxyprogesterone?
What preparations of medroxyprogesterone are available?
- Tablets: 2.5, 5, and 10 mg.
- Intramuscular injection: 150 and 400 mg/ml.
- Prefilled Syringe Suspension: 104 mg/0.65 ml
How should I keep medroxyprogesterone stored?
Medroxyprogesterone should be stored at room temperature, between 20 C and 25 C (68 F and 77 F).
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideMenopause & Perimenopause: Symptoms, Signs
Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera, Depo-Provera, Depo-Sub Q Provera 104) is a drug prescribed for amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometrial cancer, and renal cancer. Side effects and drug interactions should be reviewed with your physician prior to taking this medication.
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Barrier Methods of Birth ControlBarrier methods of birth control include:
- male condom,
- female condom,
- contraceptive sponge,
- diaphragm, and
- the cervical cap.
EndometriosisEndometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder. Endometriosis may not produce any symptoms, but when it does the most common symptom is pelvic pain that worsens just prior to menstruation and improves at the end of the menstrual period. Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain during sex
- Pain with pelvic examinations
- Cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination
Treatment of endometriosis can be with medication or surgery.
Endometriosis QuizEndometriosis is a common gynecological condition. Take this quiz to learn what happens when a woman has endometriosis as well as causes, treatments, and risks.
Hormonal Methods of Birth ControlThere are several different hormonal methods of birth control. The differences among them involve: the amount of hormone, the type of hormone, and the way the hormone enters a woman's body. The hormones can be estrogen and/or progesterone. The hormones can be taken by mouth, implanted into body tissue, absorbed from a patch on the skin, injected under the skin, or placed in the vagina. Common types of hormonal birth control include: "The Pill" (oral contraceptives), injection (Depo-Provera, Lunelle), the patch (Ortho-Evra), and the vaginal ring (Nuvaring).
MenopauseMenopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
MenstruationMenstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed. This shedding of the uterine linking is the menstrual blood flow. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. There can be problems with a woman's period, including heavy bleeding, pain, or skipped periods. Causes of these problems may be amenorrhea (lack fo a period), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), or abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding. There are a variety of situations in which a girl or woman should see a doctor about her menstrual cycle.
Natural Methods of Birth ControlNatural methods of contraception are considered "natural" because they are non-mechanical and non-hormonal. Natural methods of birth control require that a man and woman not have sexual intercourse during the time when an egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm. Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are based upon knowing when a woman ovulates each month. Natural methods of birth control include: the calendar rhythm, basal body temperature, mucus inspection, symptothermal, use of an ovulation indicator testing kit, withdrawal, lactational infertility, douching and urination, and abstinence.
OsteoporosisLearn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
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Surgical SterilizationSurgical sterilization is considered a permanent method of contraception. In certain cases, sterilization can be reversed, but this is not guaranteed. For this reason, sterilization is meant for men and women who do not intend to have children in the future. Types of surgical sterilization include: vasectomy, tubal ligation, STOP (selective tubal occlusion procedure), and hysterectomy.
Uterine CancerThough uterine cancer's cause is unknown, there are many factors that will put a woman at risk, including being over age 50, having endometrial hyperplasia, using hormone replacement therapy, obesity, using tamoxifen, being Caucasian, and/or having colorectal cancer. Symptoms of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer) include abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful urination, painful intercourse, and pelvic pain. Treatment depends on staging and may include radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Emotional stress
- Anorexia nervosa
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Early pregnancy
The treatment for abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding depends upon the cause.