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 when to take them.

Any side-effects are usually mild, but may include feeling sick, weight gain and headache.

About medroxyprogesterone

Type of medicine A progestogen
Used for Irregular or missed periods, endometriosis, and some cancers
Also called Climanor®; Provera®
Available as Tablets

Medroxyprogesterone belongs to a group of medicines called progestogens. It works by replacing or supplementing the naturally produced female sex hormone called progesterone. It is used to help problems such as heavy, painful, irregular or missed periods.

Medroxyprogesterone is also used for endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (womb) is found elsewhere in your body, often in the pelvic area or 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 used at higher doses 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 may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking medroxyprogesterone, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have migraines, asthma, epilepsy or high blood pressure.
  • If you are having 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 angina or if you have had a heart attack.
  • If you have had any problems with the way your liver or kidneys work.
  • If you have ever had depression.
  • If you have diabetes mellitus (too much sugar in your blood).
  • If you have ever had breast cancer.
  • If during a pregnancy you had problems such as severe itching, jaundice, or a skin condition called pemphigoid gestationis.
  • If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
  • 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 this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack of tablets. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of medroxyprogesterone you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take medroxyprogesterone tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. 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 prescription. 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 or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take and when to take them. You may be asked to take the tablets every day, or only on certain days of your period. Your dose will be on the label of your pack to remind you, but you should ask if you are unclear about what to do.
  • You can take medroxyprogesterone tablets before, during or after your meals.
  • Try to take medroxyprogesterone at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them. If you do miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. 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 are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking medroxyprogesterone.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as these tablets may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to 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.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with medroxyprogesterone. This is because some herbal preparations (such as St John's wort) can interfere with the way medroxyprogesterone works.

Can medroxyprogesterone cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible medroxyprogesterone
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 sleepy, 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 this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

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.