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Megestrol acetate


What is megestrol acetate?

Megestrol acetate (also called Megace®) is a hormone that is known to increase appetite. Megestrol is used to help patients feel hungry and to increase their food intake and weight. It is available as a white liquid suspension and as light-blue 20-mg and 40-mg tablets.

Possible side effects of megestrol acetate


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Later (usually more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Water weight gain mainly in the face, ankles, and hands
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Stomach upset
  • Blood clots
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Temporary changes in liver function
  • High blood pressure
  • Need to urinate more often than usual

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for megestrol acetate

  • Do not stop taking this medicine until your doctor tells you to do so. If you have taken this medicine for more than a year, you should slowly decrease the dose over a period of 2 to 3 weeks before you stop taking it. When decreasing the dose, if you have a fast onset of nausea and vomiting or feel dizzy or weak, tell your doctor right away.
  • You should see a dietician often to check your weight and food intake while you are taking this medicine. You will need to write down your food intake and bring the written record to your dietitian. Your dietitian will tell you how many days to write down your food intake and when you can stop keeping track of it.
  • Urine and blood tests may be needed to check for high blood sugar levels.
  • If your weight increases very fast or your appetite is too great, please call your doctor so the dose of megestrol acetate can be reduced.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).