Provera is derived from a natural female hormone, progesterone. It is prescribed to bring on menstrual periods or treat abnormal uterine bleeding.
Although other uses have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Provera is probably prescribed most often to menopausal women in conjunction with estrogen hormones like Premarin.
Estrogens increase the risk of uterine cancer and Provera may help offset this danger.
Doctors also sometimes prescribe this progestin for severe sleeping disturbances characterized by breathing difficulties.
Side Effects and Interactions
Side effects associated with Provera include breast tenderness, psychological depression, headache, bloating, acne, breakthrough vaginal bleeding and changes in menstrual flow, fluid retention, changes in weight, reduced libido, excess facial hair and loss of scalp hair and rash.
Other adverse reactions include insomnia, increased susceptibility to sunburn, increased cholesterol, jaundice, freckling of the skin, dizziness, fatigue, backache and the development of blood clots in the legs, lungs and brain.
Report any symptoms to your physician promptly. Pain, swelling and redness in the calves, sudden shortness of breath or chest pain, sudden severe headache or vomiting, fainting, or numbness in an arm or leg should all trigger an immediate call to the doctor or a trip to the emergency room.
Provera interacts with certain other medications. The tuberculosis medicine Rifampin, and Cytadren, a drug used for Cushing's syndrome, may interfere with Provera.
In general, the herb
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should not be combined with exogenous hormones such as oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone replacement therapies.
Saw almetto berries, which have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity, are not recommended for women using female hormones for hormone replacement therapy.
Check with your pharmacist and physician before using any other medication or herb in combination with this drug.
Some people should probably not take Provera. Those with a history of thrombophlebitis or other blood clotting problems are at increased risk.
Patients with liver disease, breast cancer, a history of miscarriage, stroke, seizures, or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding should probably not receive Provera unless there are extenuating circumstances.
This drug should generally be avoided during pregnancy.
Other conditions that require caution include diabetes, asthma, heart problems, migraine headaches, kidney disease and psychological depression.
A controversy exists over the potential carcinogenicity of medroxyprogesterone. Some animal studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer.
Taking the Medicine
Provera may be taken with food, especially if it upsets your digestive tract.