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Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera)

Find out what medroxyprogesterone acetate is, how you have it and other important information.

Medroxyprogesterone acetate is also called Provera or Depo-Provera.

How it works

Medroxyprogesterone may work by interfering with the hormone balance in the body so that there are smaller amounts of the hormones that some cancers depend on to grow. It may also interact with other hormones or have a direct effect on the cancer to stop it growing.

Why you have it

Medroxyprogesterone is a treatment for the following cancers which have come back after treatment or have spread from where they started.

  • womb cancer 
  • kidney cancer (renal cancer)
  • breast cancer in post menopausal women

Medroxyprogesterone is also a treatment for poor appetite. Your doctor may suggest that you take it if you are losing weight because it can help to boost your appetite.

Doctors also sometimes suggest it as a treatment for women who have hot flushes due to some cancer treatments. It can also help men who have hot flushes due to hormone therapy for prostate cancer treatment.

How you have it

You have medroxyprogesterone acetate as tablets.

Taking your tablets or capsules

You must take tablets and capsules according to the instructions your doctor or pharmacist gives you.

Whether you have a full or empty stomach can affect how much of a drug gets into your bloodstream.

You should take the right dose, not more or less.

Never stop taking a cancer drug without talking to your specialist first.

You need to swallow each tablet whole with a drink of water. Take them at the same time each day. Sometimes people have the dose divided up to take a couple of times a day.

If you forget to take a dose, take the next dose at the usual time. Don't take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

If you accidentally take too many tablets, tell your doctor or nurse straight away.

Tests during treatment

You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Pregnancy and contraception

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.