Medroxyprogesterone (tablets)

Sounds like 'med-ROX-ee-pro-JES-ter-one'

Medroxyprogesterone tablets are used to treat or prevent irregular, painful or heavy periods and endometriosis. It may also be used as hormone therapy during menopause and sometimes for other conditions. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Progestogen hormone
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as progestogens
  • Provera®

What is medroxyprogesterone?

Medroxyprogesterone belongs to a group of medicines called progestogens. Progestogen is very similar to the hormone progesterone that your body makes naturally.

Medroxyprogesterone tablets are used to treat or prevent irregular, painful or heavy periods and endometriosis. It may also be used as hormone therapy during menopause and sometimes for other conditions.

In New Zealand, medroxyprogesterone tablets are commonly called Provera®. Medroxyprogesterone is also available as a long-acting injection, called Depo-Provera which is used as a contraception.  


  • The dose of medroxyprogesterone will be different for different people, depending on what it's being used for.  
  • You may be asked to take the tablets every day, or only on certain days of your period.
  • Always take your medroxyprogesterone exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much medroxyprogesterone to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take medroxyprogesterone tablets

  • Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water.
  • Try to take medroxyprogesterone at the same times each day – this will help you to remember to take them.
  • You can take medroxyprogesterone with or without food.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • There are many different strengths of medroxyprogesterone tablets. Check the strength of the tablets you are taking and ask your pharmacist if they look different to what you are expecting. 

Precautions before starting medroxyprogesterone

  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Do you have migraines, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, or high blood pressure?
  • Have you ever had a blood clot in your lungs or legs (DVT)?
  • Do you have problems with your liver, kidneys or heart?
  • Do you have depression?
  • Do you have a history of liver, breast or genital cancer?
  • Are you taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start medroxyprogesterone. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

What are the side effects of medroxyprogesterone (tablets)?

Like all medicines, medroxyprogesterone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. 

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • These are quite common when you first start taking medroxyprogesterone and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome. 
  • If dizzy or drowsy, do not drive or drink alcohol.
  • Changes in weight
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Bloating 
  • Swollen feet and ankles (fluid retention)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in sexual desire
  • Tell your doctor
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product


Medroxyprogesterone may interact with some medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting medroxyprogesterone or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

The following links have more information on medroxyprogesterone.

Medroxyprogesterone (tablet) New Zealand Formulary
Provera Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet


  1. Medroxyprogesterone acetate (endocrine) New Zealand Formulary

Additional resources for healthcare professionals

The pharmacological management of endometriosis BPAC, NZ, 2013

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 12 Jul 2019