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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;64(8):1040-62. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2012.01464.x. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Novel actions of progesterone: what we know today and what will be the scenario in the future?

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Department of Pharmacology, Peoples College of Medical Sciences & Research Center, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.



This article is aimed to review the novel actions of progesterone, which otherwise is considered as a female reproductive hormone. The article focuses on its important physiological actions in males too and gives an overview of its novel perspectives in disorders of central and peripheral nervous system.


Progesterone may have a potential benefit in treatment of traumatic brain injury, various neurological disorders and male related diseases like benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), prostate cancer and osteoporosis. Norethisterone (NETA), a progesterone derivative, decreases bone mineral loss in male castrated mice suggesting its role in osteoporosis. In the future, progesterone may find use as a male contraceptive too, but still needs confirmatory trials for safety, tolerability and acceptability. Megestrol acetate, a progesterone derivative is preferred in prostatic cancer. Further, it may find utility in nicotine addiction, traumatic brain injury (recently entered Phase III trial) and Alzheimer's disease, diabetic neuropathy and crush injuries. Studies also suggest role of progesterone in stroke, for which further clinical trials are needed. The non genomic actions of progesterone may be in part responsible for these novel actions.


Although progesterone has shown promising role in various non-hormonal benefits, further clinical studies are needed to prove its usefulness in conditions like stroke, traumatic brain injury, neuropathy and crush injury. In male related illnesses like BPH and prostatic Ca, it may prove a boon in near future. New era of hormonal male contraception may be initiated by use of progesterone along with testosterone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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