Your dose of medroxyprogesterone will depend on what you are being treated for. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take and how often to take them.Any side-effects are usually mild but can include feeling sick, irregular menstrual bleeding, weight gain and headache.
|Type of medicine||A progestogen (female hormone)|
|Used for||Irregular or missed periods, endometriosis, and some cancers|
|Also called||Climanor®; Provera®|
Medroxyprogesterone belongs to a group of medicines called progestogens, which are female hormones.
Medroxyprogesterone is also used for endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of your womb (uterus) is found elsewhere in your body, often in the pelvic area or tummy (abdomen). The cells in this tissue need oestrogen (another female sex hormone) to grow and survive. Medroxyprogesterone reduces the effect of oestrogen on these cells which causes them to 'shrink'. This means the patches of endometriosis also shrink.
Medroxyprogesterone is also prescribed (although at higher doses than in the conditions mentioned above) to help treat some cancers, particularly endometrial cancer.
Medroxyprogesterone is also available as an injection to prevent pregnancy, and as tablets (in combination with an oestrogen) for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during the menopause. There are other medicine leaflets available which will give you more information about medroxyprogesterone when it is used for these reasons. See separate leaflets called Medroxyprogesterone injection for contraception and Oestrogen and progestogen for HRT.
Before taking medroxyprogesterone
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking medroxyprogesterone tablets, it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have a problem with your arteries, called arterial disease.
- If you have a heart condition.
- If you have any of the following conditions: migraines, asthma, epilepsy, sugar diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- If you have any vaginal bleeding other than your normal monthly period.
- If you have ever had a blood clot in your legs or lungs.
- If you have had any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have ever had depression.
- If you have ever had breast cancer, or a cancer that you have been told is dependent on a sex hormone (unless this is why you have been prescribed medroxyprogesterone).
- If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take medroxyprogesterone
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack of tablets. It will give you more information about medroxyprogesterone and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take medroxyprogesterone tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. There are several strengths of tablets, so it is a good idea to make sure you have been given the same strength each time you collect a fresh supply. If you are unsure about this, ask your pharmacist to check the strength for you.
- Your dose will depend on what you are being treated for. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take for each dose, and how often to take them. You may be asked to take the tablets every day, or only on certain days of your monthly cycle. The dose will also be printed on the label of the pack of tablets to remind you about what the doctor said to you but, if you are still unclear about how to take the tablets, you should ask your pharmacist to explain it to you again.
- You can take medroxyprogesterone tablets either before or after meals. It is advisable to swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
- Try to take your doses at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take medroxyprogesterone regularly. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose and take the next dose as normal). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Also, remember to keep any routine appointments for breast screening and cervical smear tests.
- These tablets are not for preventing pregnancy. If you need contraception you should discuss this with your doctor.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as the tablets can affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- It is best to avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol while taking medroxyprogesterone. If you are a smoker and you would like advice on how to quit, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can medroxyprogesterone tablets cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with medroxyprogesterone tablets. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet that has been given to you. The unwanted effects may improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Medroxyprogesterone side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues or is unusually severe, speak with your doctor as soon as possible|
|Feeling sick||Eat simple meals (avoid rich or spicy foods)|
|Irregular periods, breast tenderness, weight changes, feeling dizzy or tired, difficulty sleeping, changes in sexual desire, mood changes, skin rash, acne-like spots, changes in hair growth, swollen feet and ankles (due to fluid retention)||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store medroxyprogesterone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your prescribed medicines.
If you are due to have an operation, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Provera® Tablets 2.5 mg, Provera Tablets 5 mg and Provera Tablets 10 mg; Pfizer Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2014.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Provera® Tablets 100 mg, 200 mg and 400 mg; Pfizer Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2015.
- British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Hannah Gronow