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Megace (Megestrol)  


Megestrol is a type of drug that is majorly used for treating cancer, especially uterus cancer. The main purpose of using this drug is to procreate an artificial hormone that would belong to the group progesterone. This hormone is generated by the female body and is a major controlling element of female menstrual cycle. 


Indications: Women suffering from breast cancer or cancer in the uterus are specifically prescribed Megace to fight the disease. The main objective of prescribing this drug is to control the growth of the tumor. The medicine is usually used in conjunction with radiation therapy, surgery and/or chemotherapy.  Another reason for prescribing this drug is to tackle weight loss problems in cancer or AIDS affected person. The drug could stimulate the appetite and thus increase the food intake. Improved appetite renders positive results on patient’s overall health. This drug is also used for treating the prostate cancer.


Dosage: The drug is available both in the form of tablets and oral suspension form. The prescribed dosage of Megace is given on a daily basis for continuous months. This helps in fight the cancer or its complication. The drug is prescribed for weight loss and the dose is around 800mg daily, with or without food. It has been noticed that if the medicine is taken without having food its absorption rate is higher.   


Contraindications: Intake of Megestrol is contraindicated under following medical conditions: 

  • Vaginal bleeding 
  • liver (hepatic) impairment
  • Chronic thromboembolic disease 
  • Serious arterial disease 
  • Endometrium cancer 
  • Breast Cancer 
  • Anorexia (excessive food restriction associated with irrational fear of gaining weight)
  • Suspected pregnancy 
  • Allergic or hypersensitivity to megestrol or any of its components. 

Mechanism of Action (MOA): The progesterone, a female hormone, is the major hormone that helps in keeping the menstrual cycle in the right cycle. The drug Megestrol is a kind of synthetic substitute of this hormone. It works similarly as the natural hormone and helps in maintaining the estrogen that actually stimulates the cancerous cells.  


Metabolism - Megestrol is constituted of 5 to 8% of Megestrol acetate metabolites.  


Elimination – The urinary excretion of Megestrol (within 10 days) falls in the range of 56.5% to 78.4%. Its fecal excretion falls in the range of 7.7% to 30.3%. The total radioactivity recovered falls in the range of 83.1% to and 94.7%.  

Toxicology – Prolonged intake of Megestrol may increase the risk of onset of respiratory infections, lesser lymphocyte counts and higher neutrophil counts. 

Interactions: Some of the drugs that are known to interact with Megestrol include:

  • Glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase, Micronase) 
  • glipizide (Glucotrol) 
  • chlorpropamide (Diabinese) 
  • tolbutamide (Orinase) 
  • tolazamide (Tolinase) 

  Side Effects: Some of the possible side effects of Megestrol include:  

  • Allergic reactions like difficult breathing; tightness in throat; swelling of face, tongue or lips, hives and skin rashes 
  • Severe and persistent headache 
  • Poor vision 
  • sleep problem (Insomnia)
  • Swelling or numbness in limbs 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Weakness or fatigue 
  • Erectile dysfunction (or Poor libido).