Megace® (megestrol acetate) is a prescription medicine prescribed to treat certain types of cancers and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Specifically, Megace tablets are used to relieve symptoms of advanced breast cancer or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). The oral suspension is given to help stimulate appetite and cause weight gain in people with AIDS.
Megace tablets are taken several times a day, while the oral suspension is usually taken once daily. While most people tolerate this medication well, some people may develop side effects. Common adverse reactions include diarrhea, a rash, and weight gain.
Megace used to be available in 20-mg and 40-mg tablets; however, the brand-name tablets are no longer manufactured (generic versions are still available). The medicine is also available as a 40-mg-per-mL oral suspension.
(To learn more about the oral suspension and tablets, click Megace. This resource contains a full-length overview on this medication, including dosing instructions, details on how it works, safety precautions, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Megestrol Acetate. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2012. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 20, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 19, 2012.
Nilsson S, Nygren KG, Johansson ED. Megestrol acetate concentrations in plasma and milk during administration of an oral contraceptive containing 4 mg megestrol acetate to nursing women. Contraception 1977; 16 (6): 615-624.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed April 20, 2012.
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