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If your healthcare provider is recommending treatment with megestrol, he or she will first ask you about your medical history and any medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. These details are important to help determine whether megestrol is appropriate for you. Safety precautions associated with this medication also include warnings for people who have diabetes, adrenal gland problems, or a history of strokes.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking megestrol acetate (Megace®) if you have:
- Adrenal gland problems, such as Cushing's syndrome, Addison's disease, or an adrenal gland tumor
- Ever had a blood clot
- Ever had a stroke
- Plans to have surgery
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Specific Megestrol Precautions and WarningsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
- Megestrol oral suspension is approved to treat loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss; it should not be used to prevent weight loss from occurring. Your healthcare provider will look for a medical reason for your weight loss, such as infection, certain cancers, or problems absorbing nutrients, and treat the condition before recommending megestrol.
- There have been reports of people developing Cushing's syndrome after taking this medication for extended periods. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop signs of Cushing's syndrome, such as:
- Weight gain in your midsection or upper back
- A rounder face than usual
- High blood pressure
- Unexplained bruising.
- People who take megestrol for long periods of time may develop adrenal insufficiency (when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones) during treatment, or while stopping treatment. Adrenal insufficiency can make it harder for you to respond to stress, such as injury, illness, or surgery. Let your healthcare provider know if you become ill, plan to have surgery, or develop signs of adrenal insufficiency, such as:
- Low blood pressure
- It is not known whether megestrol has effects on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral replication.
- This medication may increase the risk for developing blood clots, and should be used with caution in people who have had blood clots in the past.
- Megestrol can increase blood sugar levels, which could cause or worsen diabetes. If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider may recommend that you test your blood sugar levels more frequently. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted.
- Megestrol may react with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Megestrol).
- Megestrol can harm an unborn baby if taken during pregnancy (see Megace and Pregnancy).
- This drug passes through breast milk. Therefore, check with your healthcare provider before taking megestrol while breastfeeding (see Megace and Breastfeeding).