What Is Megestrol Used For?

Using Megestrol for the Treatment of Breast or Endometrial Cancer

Megestrol is approved for the palliative treatment of advanced breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Advanced cancer is cancer that has come back after being treated, cannot be operated on, or has spread to other areas of the body (metastasized). Megestrol will not cure the cancer, but it can be used to help ease symptoms. This is known as palliative treatment. Megestrol should not be used in place of standard treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy.

How Does This Medication Work?

Megestrol is a type of hormone therapy. It is a progestin, or a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. The exact way it works is unknown. What is known is that megestrol decreases the amount of estrogen made by the body. This is important because estrogen stimulates some cancer cells to grow. Megestrol may also have direct effects on cancer cells.
In clinical studies, megestrol was shown to stimulate appetite and cause weight gain. It is not known how the medication produces these effects. However, it can be used to treat weight loss because of these side effects.

Can Children Use Megestrol?

Megestrol is not approved for use in children (usually defined as individuals younger than 18 years of age), as it has not been adequately studied in this age group. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medicine in children.

Is It Safe for Older Adults?

Megestrol has not been studied enough in older adults to determine if they respond differently to the medication. In general, older adults may need to be started on lower megestrol doses, as they may be more sensitive to possible side effects.
Also, people with reduced kidney function may be more likely to experience side effects of megestrol, and older adults are more likely to have impaired kidney function.
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