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Megace

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/2/2016
Megace Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Megace, Megace ES

Generic Name: megestrol (Pronunciation: meh JESS trol)

What is megestrol (Megace)?

Megestrol is a man-made chemical similar to the female hormone progesterone.

Megestrol is used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Megestrol is also used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

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

What are the possible side effects of megestrol (Megace)?

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

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, or feeling like you might pass out;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, fast heart rate; or
  • high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • upset stomach;
  • vaginal bleeding;
  • mild skin rash;
  • weakness,
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • decreased interest in sex, impotence, trouble having an orgasm.

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.

Read the Megace (megestrol acetate) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about megestrol (Megace)?

Megestrol can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use megestrol if you are pregnant.

Before you take megestrol, tell your doctor if you have diabetes or a history of stroke or blood clot.

Your dosage needs may 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.

Megace ES contains a higher concentration of megestrol than Megace. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Megace Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking megestrol (Megace)?

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

To make sure you can safely take megestrol, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • diabetes; or
  • a history of stroke or blood clot.

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use megestrol if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use effective birth control while you are using this medication.

It is not known whether megestrol passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while taking megestrol.

How should I take megestrol (Megace)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Megace ES contains a higher concentration of megestrol than Megace. If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of megestrol, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.

Your dosage needs may 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.

Megace Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Megace)?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose (Megace)?

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

What should I avoid while taking megestrol (Megace)?

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

What other drugs will affect megestrol (Megace)?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • indinavir (Crixivan); or
  • insulin or oral diabetes medications.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with megestrol. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about megestrol.


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.

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