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Megestrol

Generic Name: megestrol (meh JESS trol)
Brand Name: Megace ES, Megace

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Aug 30, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is megestrol?

Megestrol is used to treat loss of appetite and wasting syndrome in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Megestrol is not for use in preventing weight loss or wasting syndrome.

Megestrol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not use if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use megestrol if you are allergic to it, or if you are pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • diabetes;

  • an adrenal gland disorder; or

  • a stroke or blood clot.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Do not use megestrol if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using megestrol. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

In animal studies, megestrol caused low birth weight and other problems when used during pregnancy. However, it is not known whether these effects would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I take megestrol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the form and strength your doctor prescribes.

Your dosage needs may also change if you have surgery, are ill, are under stress, or have an infection. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

When you stop using megestrol after long-term use, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or weakness. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking megestrol?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Megestrol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects during or after your treatment with megestrol:

  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood;

  • swelling, warmth, or redness in an arm or leg;

  • increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor;

  • weight gain (especially in your waist and upper back);

  • muscle weakness, tiredness, feeling light-headed;

  • skin discoloration, thinning skin, increased body hair; or

  • mood changes, menstrual changes, sexual changes.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, gas, diarrhea;

  • increased blood pressure;

  • impotence, sexual problems;

  • rash; or

  • weakness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect megestrol?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect megestrol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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