Available in the form of a tablet or oral suspension, megestrol is prescribed for use in people who have AIDS, breast cancer, or endometrial cancer. This hormone therapy may help relieve the symptoms of certain cancers and can also help stimulate appetite and weight gain in people with AIDS. The oral suspension is usually taken once daily, while the tablets are taken several times daily.
What Is Megestrol?Megestrol acetate (Megace®) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of medicines known as progestins. The oral suspension is approved to treat appetite loss, muscle wasting, and significant weight loss in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The tablets are approved to relieve the symptoms of advanced breast and endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
Brand-name megestrol tablets have been discontinued by the manufacturer and are no longer available in the United States. However, generic versions of the tablets are still available.
Megestrol is also available in an extra-strength form: megestrol ES (Megace® ES). Extra-strength megestrol comes as a liquid suspension. It contains more of the active ingredient (megestrol acetate) per mL than regular megestrol.
(Click What Is Megestrol Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
Are There Side Effects?Just like any medicine, megestrol can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well.
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Some of the more common side effects of megestrol include but are not limited to:
(Click Megestrol Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)