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What is the purpose of taking Provera?

Q: I am 24 years old woman married for a year and 9 months. I missed my menstruation cycle for 2 months. I went to my gynaecologist. The ultrasound showed that I was not pregnant. The doctor prescribed me 10 tablets of Provera for a period of 5 days. I finished this dose. The doctor again asked me to take another ultrasound immediately after finishing the course. The ultrasound showed a fetus which was 12 weeks and a day old. I am really worried if the consumption of Provera would affect the growth of my baby and if the baby would be born with defects. Please help me understand this.

A:Provera (medroxyprogesterone) is indicated in the treatment of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding, Endometriosis and Secondary amenorrhoea (i.e. absence of menstruation due to some cause). It is contraindicated in pregnancy. There is a very small risk of malformation (unwanted hair in female foetuses such as hirsutism and uro-genital malformation in male foetuses) based on experimental studies in animals since due to ethical reasons no trial can be conducted in humans. Therefore as an abundant precaution, Provera and similar progestogens should not be taken during pregnancy. The risk is indeed quite small and I should think that no further action is warranted except periodic ultrasound examinations. It is not clear if any pregnancy test (other than ultrasound) was done or not because it should have been positive. In very early pregnancy, ultrasound alone is sometimes false negative.

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