Learn all about Megace (megestrol acetate), the medication taken to treat breast cancer and all the side effects associated with the intake of this medicine. Megestrol is a man-made version of progesterone, which is a type of female hormone. This medication can be used to treat breast and uterine cancers. It is also used as an appetite stimulant. Megestrol acetate (MGA) brand names Megace, Megace ES, are also known as 17α-acetoxy-6-dehydro-6-methylprogesterone, is a steroidal progestin of the 17α-hydroxyprogesterone group.
Megestrol acetate is a white, crystalline solid. Megace (megestrol acetate) possesses pharmacological properties similar to those of natural progesterone. Its progestational activity is slightly greater than that of medroxyprogesterone acetate, norethindrone, norethindrone acetate and norethynodrel; slightly less than that of chlormadinone acetate; and substantially less than that of norgestrel. Megace Oral Suspension contains the following inactive ingredients: alcohol (max. 0.06% v/v from flavor), citric acid, lemon-lime flavor, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, purified water, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sucrose, and xanthan gum.
A rarely encountered side effect of prolonged administration of megestrol acetate is urticarial, presumably an idiosyncratic reaction to the drug. The drug is devoid of the myelosuppressive activity characteristic of many cytotoxic drugs and it causes no significant changes in haematology, blood chemistry or urinalysis. Constipation and urinary frequency have also been reported in patients who received high doses of megestrol acetate in clinical trials.
Megace is contraindicated in patients who have demonstrated hypersensitivity to any of the components of the formulations. Megace is also contraindicated in patients with thromboembolic disorders. Swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles due to fluid retention is a common, but not harmful, side effect. Elevating the feet may help to lessen swelling in the feet and ankles. Avoid restrictive or tight clothing that may make it harder for the fluid to drain from the hands, feet and ankles. Megace is not recommended for women who are pregnant or who are breast feeding.
Pituitary adrenal axis abnormalities including glucose intolerance, new onset diabetes, exacerbation of pre-existing diabetes with decreased glucose tolerance and Cushing’s syndrome have been reported with the use of megestrol acetate. Clinically apparent adrenal insufficiency has been rarely reported in patients shortly after discontinuing megestrol acetate. The possibility of adrenal suppression should be considered in all patients taking or withdrawing from chronic megestrol acetate therapy. Replacement stress doses of glucocorticoids may be indicated. No serious unexpected side effects have resulted from studies involving MEGACE Oral Suspension administered in dosages as high as 1200 mg/day.
Megace (megestrol acetate) Side Effects for Breast Cancer Treatment
Megace is the brand name of the prescription drug megestrol, which is used to treat advanced breast cancer and advanced endometrial cancer. Breast cancers in which estrogen and/or progesterone receptors are positive are more likely to respond to megestrol. Megace may cause changes in a woman’s normal menstrual period. The major effect experienced by patients while taking megestrol acetate, particularly at high doses, is weight gain, which is usually not associated with water retention, but which is secondary to an increased appetite/food intake and an increase in fat and body cell mass. It is this effect which forms the basis for use of megestrol acetate in patients with anorexia or weight loss. The mechanism by which Megace produces its effects in anorexia and cachexia are unclear.
Megestrol comes as a tablet, a suspension (liquid), and a concentrated suspension (Megace ES) to take by mouth. Megestrol tablets are indicated for use in the palliative treatment of advanced carcinoma of the breast: 160 mg/day (40 mg of oral tablets four times a day). At least 2 months of therapy is considered an adequate period for determining the antineoplastic effectiveness of megestrol.
This Megace price guide is based on using the Drugs.com discount card which is accepted at most U.S. pharmacies. The cost for Megace oral suspension (40 mg/mL) is around $166 for a supply of 240 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans.
Megace Side Effects
Megace side effects are listed below:
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Mild skin rash
- Mild nausea
- Weight gain
- Severe nausea
- Severe weakness
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst or hunger
- Thinning skin
- Easy bruising
- Increased acne or facial hair
- Difficulty breathing
- Leg pain
- Sharp, crushing chest pain or chest heaviness
- Sudden cough or coughing up blood
- Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- Pain, warmth, swelling, or redness in one or both legs
- Slow or difficult speech
- Decreased sexual desire