Provera is a prescription drug that contains a manufactured version of a progestin hormone. It is specifically approved for use in helping to restore normal menstrual cycles in women who have irregular periods or those who have not had a period for several months. It can also help prevent uterine cancer in postmenopausal women. Possible side effects may include headaches and breast tenderness.

What Is Provera?

Provera® (medroxyprogesterone acetate) is a prescription medication that contains medroxyprogesterone, a progestin hormone. It is approved for the following uses:
  • Treating menstrual periods that have stopped for several months
  • Treating abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Preventing an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus in postmenopausal women who are taking estrogen.
(Click Provera Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Provera is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc.

How Does Provera Work?

Provera contains medroxyprogesterone, a synthetic (manufactured) form of progesterone, a progestin hormone. It works by replacing progesterone when the body is unable to make a sufficient amount.
When Provera is given for several days and then stopped, vaginal bleeding occurs. This bleeding is called "withdrawal bleeding" because it happens in response to the withdrawal of progestin.
Withdrawal bleeding usually occurs three to seven days after a progestin is stopped. This decrease in progestin levels causes the uterine lining (the endometrium) to slough off and bleed. This can help restore regular periods in women who have been having irregular periods or no periods at all.
Giving estrogens to postmenopausal women without a progestin can increase the risk for cancer of the lining of the uterus. Of course, this applies only to women who still have a uterus (who have not had a hysterectomy). Provera helps to decrease the risk of uterine cancer by preventing an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), which may lead to cancer.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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