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What Are Progesterone Capsules Used For?

Women who have stopped having menstrual periods before menopause may be prescribed progesterone capsules. Uses of the drug also include preventing an excessive buildup of the lining of the uterus. In some cases, progesterone capsules are used for off-label purposes, such as being used as part of infertility treatment. The medication is not approved for children for any use.

An Overview of What Progesterone Capsules Are Used For

Progesterone capsules (Prometrium®) are a hormone medication that is a bio-identical progesterone. The capsules are approved to:
  • Cause a period in women who stopped having menstrual periods before menopause (secondary amenorrhea)
  • Prevent abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus in women taking estrogen hormone replacement therapy.

Using Progesterone Capsules for Secondary Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is the medical term for the absence of menstrual periods in a woman before menopause. It can be either primary (periods never start during puberty) or secondary (an absence of periods for six months or more in a woman who has previously had menstrual periods). Secondary amenorrhea can be caused by several different problems or situations, including but not limited to:
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Hormone imbalances, including thyroid problems
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Certain medications
  • Excessive exercise
  • Eating disorders.
Stopping progesterone capsules after taking them for a short time often causes a period, depending on the cause of the amenorrhea. The medication is often used in the diagnostic process to help a healthcare provider determine what exactly is causing the absence of periods. It is also useful for causing periods (either regularly every month or less often) to help prevent an excessive buildup of the lining of the uterus, which may cause severe bleeding and cramping when a period finally occurs, as well as to mimic the natural menstrual cycle, when used in combination with an estrogen medication.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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