Medroxyprogesterone (Oral)

As a progestin hormone, Medroxyprogesterone can be used to treat atypical uterine bleeding and amenorrhea, as well as being used as a preventative treatment for endometrial hyperplasia.

Overview

Although Medroxyprogesterone is a synthetic hormone, it mimics the effects of progesterone, which is found naturally in the human body. Often used as a form of birth control, Medroxyprogesterone can also be used to treat a number of medical conditions.

If female patients develop amenorrhea, for example, Medroxyprogesterone can be used to treat the condition. Amenorrhea involves the abnormal suspension of menstrual periods but successful treatment with Medroxyprogesterone can ensure the patient's menstruation returns to normal.

Similarly, Medroxyprogesterone may be prescribed if patients present with abnormal or atypical uterine bleeding. Depending on the cause of this bleeding, Medroxyprogesterone may be used to regulate the patient's hormones and to prevent excessive or unusual bleeding.

As well as being used to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis, Medroxyprogesterone can be used to prevent endometrial hyperplasia and is particularly beneficial for patients who are also taking conjugated estrogens. As the intake of conjugated estrogens can result in estrogen dominance, the lack of natural progesterone can cause the womb lining to grow abnormally. By treating the patient with Medroxyprogesterone, the womb lining, or endometrium, is shed and prevented from becoming abnormal.

Once administered, Medroxyprogesterone affects cells in the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the mammary gland and the female reproductive tract. By binding to progesterone receptors, Medroxyprogesterone limits the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and reduces the surge of luteinizing hormone which is normally released prior to ovulation.

As GnRH is associated with numerous hormone conditions, reducing and regulating its production can successfully treat these conditions and relieve the patient's symptoms. Although Medroxyprogesterone is primarily used to treat female patients, it can be prescribed to male patients in some instances.

Conditions Treated

  • Hormone disorders
  • Amenorrhea
  • Atypical uterine bleeding
  • Endometriosis
  • Endometrial hyperplasia

Type Of Medicine

  • Hormone treatment

Side Effects

When patients use hormone medications, such as Medroxyprogesterone, they may experience some adverse effects. Often, these are more prominent when the patient first starts using the medication but then decrease over time.

For example, patients may experience the following side effects when taking Medroxyprogesterone:

  • Blemishes on the skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Discouragement
  • Feeling empty or sad
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased hair growth, particularly on the face
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pimples
  • Loss of pleasure or interest
  • Weight changes
  • Nervousness

If the above side effects are short-lived and fairly mild, additional medical treatment may not be required. However, if the patient experiences any severe adverse effects or the side effects persist, they should access medical advice.

Similarly, patients should notify a healthcare practitioner straight away if they exhibit the following symptoms when taking Medroxyprogesterone:

  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Irregular, missed or absent menstrual periods
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • Changes in skin color
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Menstrual changes
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Welts or hives
  • Decrease in amount of urine
  • Redness, itching or swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash on the skin
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the hands, fingers, legs or feet
  • Rattling, noisy breathing
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the eyelids, face, lips, throat, throat, hands, feet, legs or sex organs
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Stopping of menstrual bleeding
  • Pain in the groin, chest or legs, particularly in the calves
  • Tenderness, swelling or pain of the leg or foot
  • Swelling or puffiness around the face, tongue, lips, eyes or of the eyelids
  • Weight gain
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Sudden loss of coordination
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Severe, sudden numbness or weakness in the leg or arm
  • Unexplained or sudden shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing at rest
  • Excess or unexpected milk flow from the breasts
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Unpleasant breath odor

If patients develop any other side effects whilst taking Medroxyprogesterone, they should also access medical help.

Dosage

If patients are advised to take Medroxyprogesterone, they should only use the medication in accordance with their doctor's instructions. It is important that patients don't over-use Medroxyprogesterone or take too much medication, as this could cause serious side effects.

When patients are prescribed Medroxyprogesterone, their dose will depend on various factors. The condition they're being treated for, any additional health problems, their medical history, age and weight, can all affect the patient's treatment.

If adult patients are being treated for amenorrhea or atypical uterine bleeding, for example, they are usually instructed to take 5mg of Medroxyprogesterone per day. In most cases, patients will be advised to take this dose for a period of five to ten days. However, the patient's dose may be increased in some situations. If a higher dose is required, a maximum of 10mg per day is normally prescribed.

Alternatively, patients may be prescribed Medroxyprogesterone for the prevention of endometrial hyperplasia. If so, patients are usually instructed to take 5mg per day, for 12 to 14 days each month. If symptoms persist, the patient's dose may be increased to 10mg per day but should not exceed this.

If Medroxyprogesterone is to be taken on specific days of the month, the patient's doctor will advise them when to take the medication. This is particularly important if patients are also taking estrogen medications as they may need to take the medicines at different times of the day.

In order to be effective, Medroxyprogesterone should be taken in accordance with a regular treatment schedule. If patients forget to take a dose of medication, they should take it as soon as they remember to. However, if the patient's next dose is due relatively soon, they will have to skip the missed dose. Patients should not attempt to take a double or extra dose of Medroxyprogesterone, even if a previous dose has been missed.

If patients are unsure how or when to take Medroxyprogesterone, they should contact their physician or pharmacist for advice.

Potential Drug Interactions:

Before patients begin using Medroxyprogesterone, they should tell their physician if they are taking any other prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or supplements. As some medications interact with one another, it may not be advisable or safe to use certain substances in conjunction with Medroxyprogesterone.

For example, Medroxyprogesterone is not prescribed in conjunction with the following medicine:

  • Tranexamic Acid

Similarly, using Medroxyprogesterone alongside the following medicines is not generally recommended:

  • Darunavir
  • Carbamazepine
  • Isotretinoin
  • Dabrafenib
  • Theophylline

If patients are advised to use Medroxyprogesterone in conjunction with one of the medications listed above, their dose may be altered or they may be instructed to take the medicine at specific times of the day as this could help to prevent an interaction taking place.

Patients should also be aware that taking Medroxyprogesterone alongside the following substances could increase their risk of developing side effects:

  • Amprenavir
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Aprepitant
  • Phenobarbital
  • Atazanavir
  • Prednisolone
  • Bacampicillin
  • Phenytoin
  • Betamethasone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Bexarotene
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Colesevelam
  • Ritonavir
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Cyclosporine
  • Primidone
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Delavirdine
  • Rufinamide
  • Efavirenz
  • Rifapentine
  • Etravirine
  • Selegiline
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Telaprevir
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Topiramate
  • Griseofulvin
  • Troleandomycin
  • Lamotrigine
  • Warfarin
  • Licorice

If patients are advised to take Medroxyprogesterone alongside the medicines listed above, they should consult their physician if they do experience increased side effects. Often, the patient's dose of medicine can be altered to relieve their symptoms or they may be prescribed additional medication to manage their side effects.

In addition to interacting with other medicines, Medroxyprogesterone may interact with other substances. If patients consume the following whilst taking Medroxyprogesterone, for example, they may suffer from increased side effects:

  • Caffeine

Once patients have started taking Medroxyprogesterone, they should obtain medical advice before using any new medicines, vitamins or supplements.

Warnings

Before using Medroxyprogesterone, it is very important that patients disclose their medical history to their physician. Similarly, patients should notify their doctor of existing health problems they have been diagnosed with or any conditions they are suspected of having. There are some health issues which can affect the use of Medroxyprogesterone and these may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Endometriosis
  • Unusual or abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Blood clots
  • Cancer, particularly estrogen or progesterone-dependent cancers
  • Thyroid problems
  • Breast cancer
  • Migraine headache
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • High level of cholesterol in the blood (Hypercholesterolemia)
  • Kidney disease
  • High levels of calcium in the blood (Hypercalcemia)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Dementia
  • Heart attack

Although hormone treatments can sometimes be used to treat precocious puberty in pediatric patients, the safety of Medroxyprogesterone in relation to use in children has not been established. Due to this, an alternative medication may be used to treat pediatric patients.

Whilst geriatric patients can be prescribed Medroxyprogesterone, they may have age-related health problems which could affect the use of this medication.

If patients experience any of the following symptoms when taking Medroxyprogesterone, they should obtain immediate medical help:

  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Pain in the groin, chest or legs, particularly in the calves
  • Unexplained and/or severe shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Sudden loss of coordination

Taking Medroxyprogesterone can increase the patient's risk of suffering health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, dementia, blood clots, uterine cancer and/or breast cancer. The patient's risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack whilst taking Medroxyprogesterone is increased if the patient is overweight, has high cholesterol, and/or has diabetes. The patient's risk of these health problems is also increased if they smoke. If patients are concerned about these risks, they should consult their physician before they start taking Medroxyprogesterone.

When using Medroxyprogesterone, patients should seek medical help in order to give up smoking and take steps to reduce their weight and/or cholesterol levels, if it is necessary to do so. Patients may be advised to alter their dietary intake and increase the amount of exercise they do in order to reduce the risk of serious health problems occurring.

If patients notice the following symptoms when taking Medroxyprogesterone, they should consult their doctor straight away and may be referred to an ophthalmologist:

  • Change in vision
  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Severe headache

Patients may experience pancreatitis when taking Medroxyprogesterone and should access urgent medical help if they develop the following symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Severe and sudden stomach pains
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vomiting

If patients are due to undergo any medical tests, they should tell the relevant healthcare practitioner that they are taking Medroxyprogesterone as the medication may affect some test results. Similarly, if patients are due to undergo any medical procedures, including dental work, they must tell the relevant physicians that they are taking Medroxyprogesterone. It may not be safe for certain procedures to be carried out whilst patients are taking this medication.

If taken during pregnancy, Medroxyprogesterone can cause serious harm to the unborn fetus and may cause a miscarriage. Due to this, Medroxyprogesterone should never be used to treat patients who are pregnant. Whilst taking this medication, patients should use an effective form of birth control to ensure they do not become pregnant.

If patients become pregnant when taking Medroxyprogesterone, they should inform their physician straight away.

When Medroxyprogesterone is taken whilst breastfeeding, it is thought to present a minimal risk to the infant. However, patients should always obtain medical advice before breastfeeding if they are taking medications, including Medroxyprogesterone.

Before using Medroxyprogesterone, patients should tell their physician if they have any known allergies. This includes allergies to medicines, foods, chemicals, animals, dyes, preservatives and any other substances.

In rare cases, Medroxyprogesterone may cause patients to experience an allergic reaction. If so, the patient will require urgent medical treatment. An allergic reaction may be characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Rash on the skin
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hives
  • Swelling, which may affect the throat, tongue, lips, mouth, face or hands

Storage

When patients are taking Medroxyprogesterone orally, they will need to keep a supply of medication at home. However, patients should keep their medication in a safe location and should ensure that children and/or pets cannot gain access to it.

In order to store the medicine properly, patients should follow the manufacturer's instructions and consult the medication guide. Generally, Medroxyprogesterone can be kept at room temperature but should always be stored in a closed container. In addition to this, Medroxyprogesterone should be kept away from heat, light and moisture.

If the medicine reaches its use-by date or if the patients are advised to stop taking Medroxyprogesterone, they will need to dispose of it carefully. It is not safe to throw medication out with regular household waste as it may pose a risk to other people. Instead, patients should contact their physician's office or pharmacist and make use of a designated medicine disposal service.

Summary

Although hormone levels naturally rise and fall, if they become too unbalanced, patients can develop a variety of symptoms. In many instances, an excess of hormones or a reduction in hormones can cause health problems to occur. If patients have too little progesterone, for example, they may be at risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia.

As well as being used to treat certain conditions, Medroxyprogesterone can also be used to prevent health problems from arising. If tests indicate that the patient is suffering from a hormone imbalance, for example, Medroxyprogesterone may be used to rectify the imbalance and to prevent the patient from suffering further complications.

However, hormone medications, such as Medroxyprogesterone, have been associated with serious complications, such as an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. Due to this, hormone treatments should only be used when the benefits outweigh the risks. When used successfully, Medroxyprogesterone can relieve the patient's symptoms and prevent them from experiencing other health complications. In such cases, the risks associated with taking hormone medications can be deemed to outweigh the risks associated with such treatments.