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Megestrol Acetate (By mouth)

Megestrol tablets treat breast and uterine cancer. Megace® ES liquid is used to increase appetite and prevent weight loss in patients with AIDS.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Megace ES
Drug classes About this
Endocrine-Metabolic Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Megestrol acetate for treatment of anorexia‐cachexia syndrome

Anorexia‐cachexia syndrome (ACS) is a common clinical problem characterised by loss of appetite and weight loss. It is common in patients who suffer from advanced cancer, AIDS and some other conditions. At present, there is no cure for ACS.

Injectable birth control with both progestin and estrogen

Birth control methods that can be injected may contain two hormones, a progestin and an estrogen. These combined injectable contraceptives (CICs) are effective in preventing pregnancy and can be stopped when a woman wants to get pregnant. This review looked at CICs for how well they prevented pregnancy and for the bleeding patterns and other side effects that may occur. We also studied whether women stopped using them early and whether women liked them.

Systematic review of megestrol acetate in the treatment of anorexia-cachexia syndrome

This study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of megestrol acetate (MA) in anorexia-cachexia syndrome (ACS). Literature and relevant databases were searched for randomized controlled trials of MA to treat ACS in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other pathologies. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers, and meta-analyses were performed where possible. Twenty-six studies were included (n=3,887). Compared to placebo, MA increased appetite in oncology patients [RR=2.31 (95% CI 1.52-3.59)], led to weight gain [RR=1.88 (95% CI 1.43-2.47)] and improved HRQOL [RR=1.52 (95% CI 1.00-2.30)]. In AIDS patients, it increased weight [RR=2.16 (95% CI 1.45-3.21)]. MA showed significant benefits over dronabinol in improving appetite, but no statistically significant advantages over other drugs for treating ACS were observed. There were no appreciable differences between lower (<800 mg/day) and higher (>800 mg/day) doses of MA. Few serious adverse events were recorded. MA is an effective and safe treatment for ACS in cancer and AIDS patients, particularly in terms of improvement in appetite and weight gain.

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Summaries for consumers

Megestrol acetate for treatment of anorexia‐cachexia syndrome

Anorexia‐cachexia syndrome (ACS) is a common clinical problem characterised by loss of appetite and weight loss. It is common in patients who suffer from advanced cancer, AIDS and some other conditions. At present, there is no cure for ACS.

Injectable birth control with both progestin and estrogen

Birth control methods that can be injected may contain two hormones, a progestin and an estrogen. These combined injectable contraceptives (CICs) are effective in preventing pregnancy and can be stopped when a woman wants to get pregnant. This review looked at CICs for how well they prevented pregnancy and for the bleeding patterns and other side effects that may occur. We also studied whether women stopped using them early and whether women liked them.

Appetite stimulants for people with cystic fibrosis

We looked for evidence on both beneficial and adverse effects of using appetite stimulants in people with anorexia linked to cystic fibrosis.

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