Megestrol Megace

Megestrol Megace

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Megestrol (Megace) which is used to treat advanced breast cancer, typically in women who do not respond well, or become resistant, to Tamoxifen. It is a synthetic form of the hormone, progesterone and is taken orally. Progesterone is normally secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary, and by the placenta, and acts to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilised ovum, to maintain pregnancy, and to promote development of secondary sexual characteristics. Progesterone also counteracts some of the negative effects of oestrogen (many breast cancers depend on oestrogen to grow and reproduce). In addition to treating advanced breast cancer, Megestrol may also be used to treat advanced stages of endometrial cancer or to increase appetite in HIV patients.

Side effects can include: fluid retention, weight gain, caused by the increase in appetite, and nausea. Women who have had blood clots or inflammation of a vein should tell their doctor before taking Megestrol because it may affect the circulation of blood. There are very rare risks of allergic reactions, jaundice and raised blood pressure.  There is a long-term risk of osteoporosis.

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

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Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list


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