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Progesterone is a female sex hormone that plays many important roles in reproduction, including the thickening of the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle; and during pregnancy, the functioning of the placenta, and the initiation of labor.

Information about Progesterone

Progesterone is the naturally occurring hormone that is actively secreted by the ovary and interacts with progesterone receptors in the reproductive tract, mammary gland and central nervous system.

Clinical use of Progesterone

Progesterone and the progestins have been used alone or in combination with estrogens in oral contraceptives, as therapy of postmenopausal symptoms, for secondary amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis and progesterone sensitive cancers.

Liver safety of Progesterone

High doses of progestins can cause liver test abnormalities and can occasionally lead to clinical apparent acute liver injury. == Liver safety of Progesterone ==

Mechanism of action of Progesterone

Progesterone (proe jes' ter one) is the naturally occurring progestin which is secreted by the ovary and has a multitude of actions on many organs, but predominantly on the reproductive tract, mammary glands and central nervous system. Large amounts of progesterone are produced in women by the corpus luteum during the second half of the menstrual cycle, which inhibits the effects of estrogen on endometrial proliferation and results in a secretory status of the endometrium in preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum regresses and levels of progesterone fall, triggering menstruation and resetting of the ovarian cycle. Progesterone also affects mammary glands and is required for their development and maintenance and, in the central nervous system, increases body temperature and ventilator responses. Progesterone also has androgenic and antiestrogenic effects and causes an increase in basal insulin levels, enhances fat deposition and decreases bone turnover. Modifications of the progesterone molecule can produce compounds with better absorption and pharmacokinetics and more focused and specific activities. Progestins are compounds with biological activities similar to progesterone.

List of Progesterone

Progestins developed for clinical use include desogestrel, dydrogesterone, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, megestrol, 19-nortestosterone, norethindrone, norgestrel and norgestimate, among others. Many of these progestins are used in combination with estrogens in oral contraceptives. In addition, some are used alone as contraceptive agents and to treat secondary amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, infertility and premature labor. Progestins have also been used to treat progesterone sensitive cancers (endometrial, renal, breast), and as therapy of anorexia and cachexia due to cancer chemotherapy or the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Progestins used without estrogens include (with common brand names and year of approval in the United States): medroxyprogesterone (Provera and others: 1959), megestrol (Megase: 1971) and norethindrone (Camila, Errin, Micronor, Aygestin: 1973).

Side effects of Progesterone

Common side effects of progestin therapies include nausea, headaches, anxiety, weight gain, edema and breast tenderness and engorgement.

Obstetrical and Gynecological Agents

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Medication resources

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