MEGACE (Megestrol)

Warning: Patients must be wary of side effects and respond appropriately and quickly.  If any of the following symptoms occur, get emergency help right away: trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of face, lips, throat, or tongue.  Contact your physician immediately with any of these serious side effects: high blood sugar (increased thirst or increased urination), nausea or vomiting, a sudden numbness or weakness, chest pain or a sudden cough, or high blood pressure (severe headache or buzzing in the ears).

Indications: Megace is a manufactured drug designed to simulate the female hormone progesterone.  This drug helps in treating some of the symptoms associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) including loss of appetite and weight loss.  It has also proven effective in the treatment of endometrial cancer and advanced breast cancer. Megace is used to treat certain forms of prostate cancer.

Megace is also used to treat malnutrition, loss of appetite and weight loss in patients with AIDS. That is, by using Megace, you can have your appetite and weight increased.

Dosage: Megace comes as a tablet, a suspension (liquid) and a concentrated suspension (called Megace ES) to take by mouth. Patients drink the liquid after shaking it thoroughly. It is important for a patient to take this drug exactly according to the instructions of the health care provider. The measurements of the dosage need to be exact.  Patients must measure the liquid with a special medicine cup or dose-measuring spoon.  Do not use a regular table spoon – this is not sufficiently accurate.  Special measuring spoons are available from your local pharmacist.

If during treatment you have surgery, become ill, develop a situation that causes high stress, or get an infection, your dosage requirements may change.  Be sure to contact your physician in any of these situations to find the correct dosage.  Do not change the dosage or treatment schedule on your own.

This medicine should be stored at room temperature, and away from any sources of moisture and heat.

Storage: store Megace at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, moisture and heat above 40 ° C. Keep Megace out of the reach of children. Do not store Megace and all medications in the bathroom. Megace and all other medications should not be used beyond the expiration date printed on the container.

Overdose: Do not take Megace more often than prescribed by your doctor. As with any drug, persistent overdose can be dangerous. If you think you have taken an overdose of Megace, contact your doctor or a poison control center near you as soon as possible.

Missing dose: do your best to take Megace as indicated by your doctor or pharmacist. In case youforget to take a dose, take the missed one as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, do not double the next dose to recover the missed one; it can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or wait to go back to your regular schedule.

Contraindications: This medication is contraindicated for women who are pregnant.  It is rated as FDA pregnancy category X, meaning it can harm the unborn fetus as well as cause birth defects.  It is important to inform you physician immediately if you become pregnant during treatment.  For these reasons, it is important to use a reliable contraceptive while taking this drug.  Patients are also advised to not breast-feed during treatment, although it has not been proven with certainty that megestrol can be passed to a nursing infant, or that it is harmful to a baby.

Tell your doctor is you have a history of stroke, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and blood clot.

Mechanism of action (MOA): Megace works by slowing or stopping the multiplication of cancer cells in the prostate by inhibiting the production of testosterone in the body. In the treatment of breast or endometrial cancer, Megace interfering with other hormones and proteins necessary for the division of the cancer cells.

Interactions: It is important to tell your physician about any drugs you are currently taking in order to avoid dangerous interactions.  This is not restricted to prescription drugs, but includes over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal products.  For Megace, patients who are taking indinavir (Crixivan), insulin, or oral diabetes medications should take special notice.

Side effects: in certain patients, Megace can lead to the following side effects:

  • dizziness
  • mild headache
  • high blood pressure
  • mood swings
  • rapid or unusual weight gain
  • nervousness
  • flushing
  • gas or bloating
  • erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual desire
  • unexpected vaginal bleeding
  • sleep problems
  • lack of energy
  • breast tenderness or pain
  • Appearance of brown spots on exposed skin

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • vision changes
  • anxiety or nervousness
  • confusion
  • slow speech
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • excessive sweating, mainly at night
  • purple, blue, or black discoloration of the skin
  • extreme hunger
  • severe depression symptoms
  • leg pain or cramps
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain or heaviness in chest
  • weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Swelling of face, ankles or feet

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