Drugs Home > What Is Megestrol ES Used For?

Megestrol ES is a synthetic form of a naturally occurring hormone found in the body; it has been shown to help stimulate appetite in adults with AIDS. Some people with AIDS can develop a form of anorexia, which causes malnutrition, muscle loss, and weight loss. Megestrol ES use in these people has been shown to help improve appetite and cause weight gain.

An Overview of Megestrol ES Uses

Megestrol ES (Megace® ES) is a prescription medication approved to treat appetite loss, severe malnutrition, or an unexplained and significant weight loss in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is a hormone medication similar to progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone in the body.
 
Megestrol ES is an extra-strength form of megestrol (Megace®). Megestrol and megestrol ES come in the form of a liquid suspension that is taken by mouth. Megestrol tablets are also available and are approved to relieve the symptoms of advanced forms of breast cancer or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
 
AIDS is a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). An infection with HIV weakens the body's immune system. This is because HIV attacks immune cells that normally defend the body against illnesses.
 
HIV mostly infects T helper cells, also known as CD4+ T cells (or just CD4 cells). As the disease progresses, more and more CD4+ T cells are damaged by HIV. The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection, when CD4+ T cell levels are severely reduced.
 
When the immune system is weakened, the body is more susceptible to "opportunistic infections." Opportunistic infections are infections that would usually not make a healthy person sick.
 
People with AIDS may experience severe appetite loss, known medically as anorexia. However, this is different from anorexia nervosa, the well-known eating disorder. AIDS-related anorexia can lead to unintended weight loss, loss of muscle mass, and severe malnutrition, which further increases the risk for opportunistic infections.
 
Megestrol ES is used to stimulate appetite in people with AIDS. By stimulating the appetite, megestrol ES can help people eat more and gain weight.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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