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Dydrogesterone, also sold under the brand name Duphaston, is a steroidal progestin medication. First developed in the 1950s and introduced to the market in the 1960s, Dydrogesterone has been prescribed to women with medical conditions relating to progesterone deficiency for a long time now. 

Have you been prescribed Dydrogesterone? You will want to know what side effects you might expect, and under what conditions it is not safe to use Dydrogesterone. 

What Conditions Is Dydrogesterone Used To Treat?

Dydrogesterone may be prescribed to women who suffer from:

  • Dysmenorrhea, or extremely painful periods. 
  • PMS. 
  • Irregular menstrual periods. 
  • Endometriosis, a condition in which the tissues that normally line the uterus proliferate in other parts of the reproductive system as well. 
  • Infertility caused by luteal insufficiency. 
  • Threatened miscarriage due to progesterone deficiency after a history of multiple early pregnancy losses. 
  • Menopause-related symptoms, as hormone replacement therapy. 
  • Women with non-cancerous breast lumps. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Dydrogesterone?

The most common side effects of Dydrogesterone or Duphaston are migraines, dizziness, nausea, abdominal bloating, sore and tender breasts, and skin rashes. Dydrogesterone can also, ironically, lead to irregular vaginal bleeding between periods — something it is also sometimes prescribed to treat. 

Dydrogesterone Contraindications 

Many women who have been prescribed Dydrogesterone want to know whether the drug is safe for use during pregnancy, especially since birth defects were reported in the babies of women who used Duphaston. Research into this matter suggests that there is no link between Dydrogesterone and birth defects, with the possible exception of hypospadias. This is a disorder in which male babies are born with the urethral opening located on the side of the penis, rather than at the tip. 

If your doctor wants to prescribe you Duphaston for use during pregnancy, I suggest that you discuss the benefits and risks with your prescribing doctor. 

Women who are allergic to any component of Duphaston, who have unexplained vaginal bleeding between periods, and who have, or are suspected to have, progesterone-dependent (cancerous) growths of the reproductive system should not be using Duphaston. 

Why Was Dydrogesterone Discontinued In Several Countries?

Dydrogesterone has been discontinued in several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. This has sparked safety concerns among some consumers. You might like to know that the drug was discontinued for commercial reasons rather than due to safety concerns. 

However, we should note that more recent research plays a role in this discontinuation for commercial reasons — women were once routinely prescribed progesterone replacement after suffering repeated miscarriages, as it was believed that this optimized the quality of the uterine lining and maintained pregnancy. Up-to-date research, on the other hand, suggests that progesterone replacement does not lead to improved pregnancy outcomes. As the World Health Organization says, the prescription of Dydrogesterone to prevent early pregnancy loss was based more on theory than on concrete evidence that it worked. 

While the idea that Dydrogesterone does not prevent miscarriage may be upsetting, the good news is that the majority of the women who took part in a large study to assess its efficacy got pregnant and stayed pregnant despite receiving a placebo. 

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