Megestrol is used to increase your appetite and to prevent or reverse unintended or significant weight loss (e.g., muscle wasting). Improving your appetite and gaining weight may increase your ability to fight disease. It can also increase your sense of well-being and your physical ability.
Megestrol is similar to a natural substance made by the body called progesterone.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor. Measure the medication with a dose-measuring spoon or device, not a regular teaspoon, to make sure you have the correct dose. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. It may take several weeks of continued use to see a benefit. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Shake the bottle well before each dose. Do not switch between different forms of megestrol because they may not have the same amount of medication.
This medication may cause trouble sleeping, fever, gas, decreased sexual ability/desire, or upset stomach. Women may experience changes in their menstrual periods, including unpredictable bleeding. If any of these effects persist or worsen, inform your doctor.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, confusion, difficulty breathing, mental/mood changes, weakness/numbness on one side of the body, pain/redness/swelling of arms or legs, slurred speech, vision changes.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking megestrol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: adrenal gland problems (e.g., Cushing's syndrome), blood clotting problems, diabetes, heart disease (e.g., high blood pressure, congestive heart failure), kidney disease, stomach or abdominal problems, unusual vaginal bleeding.
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and worsening of diabetes may occur. Symptoms of high blood sugar include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor immediately. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels more frequently when they start taking this medication and whenever the dose changes since they may need to change their doses of diabetic medications.
This drug may decrease adrenal gland activity. Therefore, tell your doctor or dentist that you are currently using megestrol or the date you stopped using it. After stopping this drug, additional corticosteroids (e.g., hydrocortisone) may be necessary during stress situations such as trauma, major surgery, or serious infection. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details. Symptoms of adrenal problems include unusual weakness, dizziness, nausea, and weight loss.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially the risk for blood clots.
This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Megestrol may cause harm to your baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Women of childbearing age should use an effective form of birth control while using this medication. Consult your doctor for more details.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others. It is important to keep all doctor appointments so your progress can be monitored and to check for any side effects including high blood pressure.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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