Progestins, synthetic versions of the hormone
progesterone, are used to treat
abnormal uterine bleeding. They are given either
as high-dose progestin pills or in the form of birth control pills.
||Aygestin, Micronor, Modicon, Norethin
levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) is also a
progestin treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding. This type of
IUD continually releases levonorgestrel, a form of
progesterone, into the uterus.
How It Works
Progestins prevent overgrowth of the
endometrium. This helps prevent
abnormal uterine bleeding. (Heavy bleeding is
often the product of irregular breakdown of an overgrown endometrium.) In teens
and women who aren't
ovulating regularly, progestins help restore a
You usually take
progestins 10 to 12 days every month.
Why It Is Used
Progestins are used to treat
irregular menstrual periods when no other uterine disease is present. They are
mainly used to restore hormonal balance and normal menstrual bleeding in teens
and women who aren't ovulating. Also, they are helpful for some ovulating women with
irregular menstrual bleeding.1
levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) or a combination estrogen-progestin
birth control pill is a better choice for women who want to prevent
How Well It Works
Progestin therapy effectiveness
varies with the type of abnormal uterine bleeding treated and the dosage
and timing of treatment.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Lobo RA (2007). Abnormal uterine bleeding: Ovulatory
and anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding, management of acute and chronic
excessive bleeding. In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed., pp. 915–931. Philadelphia: Mosby
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of
||March 12, 2014