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Megace Side Effects

Generic name: megestrol

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 17, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about megestrol. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Megace.

Applies to megestrol: oral suspension, oral tablet.

Serious side effects of Megace

Along with its needed effects, megestrol (the active ingredient contained in Megace) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking megestrol:

More common

Less common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bladder pain
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • burning or stinging of the skin
  • burning, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • cough or hoarseness
  • discouragement
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling sad or empty
  • fever or chills
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
  • painful or difficult urination
  • right upper abdominal or stomach pain and fullness
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stabbing pain
  • swelling
  • swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • swollen glands
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • tumor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Incidence not known

  • Anxiety
  • backache
  • changes in skin color
  • facial hair growth in females
  • fractures
  • hives, itching, rash
  • joint or muscle pain
  • loss of sexual desire or ability
  • menstrual irregularities
  • muscle wasting
  • pain, tenderness, or swelling of the foot or leg

Other side effects of Megace

Some side effects of megestrol may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestine
  • heartburn
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • indigestion
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • stomach discomfort or upset

Less common

  • Abnormal thinking
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • confusion
  • change in vision
  • constipation
  • increased salivation

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to megestrol: compounding powder, oral suspension, oral tablet.


Very common (10% or more): Adrenal insufficiency, cushingoid, Cushing's syndrome[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Thrombophlebitis, hypertension, hot flush

Common (1% to 10%): Cardiac failure, chest pain, cardiomyopathy, palpitation

Postmarketing reports: Deep vein thrombosis, thromboembolic phenomena[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Leukopenia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Constipation

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal pain[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pollakiuria, menorrhagia, erectile dysfunction, albuminuria, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, gynecomastia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pulmonary embolism (sometimes fatal), dyspnea

Common (1% to 10%): Cough, pharyngitis, lung disorder[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash, alopecia, moniliasis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Herpes, pruritus, vesiculobullous rash, sweating, skin disorder[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Carpal tunnel syndrome, lethargy, paresthesia, convulsion, neuropathy, hypesthesia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Tumor flare (with or without hypercalcemia), sarcoma[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Asthenia, pain, edema

Common (1% to 10%): Edema, peripheral edema[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Amblyopia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Diabetes mellitus, glucose tolerance impaired, hyperglycemia, increased appetite, weight gain

Common (1% to 10%): LDH increased

Postmarketing reports: Glucose intolerance[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Mood altered, confusion, depression[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. "Product Information. Megestrol Acetate (megestrol)." Par Pharmaceutical Inc (2019):

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.