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Medroxyprogesterone (Provera ®, Depo-Provera®)

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Overview

  • Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats are a common reason for veterinary visits. Unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior problems may lead some owners to elect euthanasia as an ultimate solution to the problems they face with their pets.
  • Recently, veterinarians have placed greater emphasis on proper training and behavior modification practices, and specialists working in the field of animal behavior have increasingly adopted drugs used in human behavior for animal use.
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is one of those drugs. It is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is a steroid sex hormone. During pregnancy, it acts to protect the embryo and encourages the growth of the placenta.
  • MPA has been used to control certain sexual behavior problems.
  • MPA is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Provera ® (Upjohn), Cycrin® (ESI Lederle), Amen® (Carnrick), Depo-Provera® (Pharmacia and Upjohn) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of MPA

  • MPA has been used to suppress the heat cycle in bitches
  • It is also used to treat various behavioral problems, including aggression in dogs and cats; urine spraying or marking by male cats; and to suppress unwanted male behaviors, such as mounting and humping.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, MPA may cause serious side effects in some animals.
  • MPA should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • MPA should not be used in animals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
  • It should not be used in intact females because it may induce serious medical complications, such as uterine infection.
  • Prolonged treatment may cause mammary tumors, diabetes mellitus and other systemic disorders.
  • Minor side effects include increased appetite, weight gain and lethargy.
  • MPA may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with MPA. Such drugs include rifampin and corticosteroids.

    How MPA is Supplied

  • MPA is available as 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg tablets (usually for humans).
  • MPA is also available as a suspension in 150 mg/ml and 400 mg/ml concentrations.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be given without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • MPA is usually injected in either a low dose or a high dose.
  • The low dose is 1 mg per pound (2 mg/kg) every 3 months or 1.5 mg per pound (3 mg/kg) every 4 months.
  • The high dose is 2.5 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) for dogs and 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg) for cats, with an interval of no less than one month between injections.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.




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