MGA was first synthesized, in 1959, from medroxyprogesterone acetate, which itself had been synthesized the year prior in 1958.  MGA in combination with ethinylestradiol (EE) was introduced in 1963 by British Drug Houses in the United Kingdom under the brand name Volidan (4 mg MGA and 50 μg EE tablets) as an oral contraceptive ,   and this was followed by Serial 28 (1 mg MGA and 100 μg EE tablets) and Volidan 21 (4 mg MGA and 50 μg EE tablets) in 1964 and Nuvacon (2 mg MGA and 100 μg EE tablets) in 1967, all by British Drug Houses also in the .  MGA was approved in 1967 for the treatment of breast cancer.   In the 1970s, it was found to be associated with mammary tumors in beagle dogs, and along with several other progestogens, was withdrawn from several markets as an oral contraceptive.  Subsequent research revealed that there is no similar risk in humans. 
Heavy consumption of the essential amino acid lysine (as indicated in the treatment of cold sores) has allegedly shown false positives in some and was cited by American shotputter C. J. Hunter as the reason for his positive test, though in 2004 he admitted to a federal grand jury that he had injected nandrolone.  A possible cause of incorrect urine test results is the presence of metabolites from other AAS, though modern urinalysis can usually determine the exact AAS used by analyzing the ratio of the two remaining nandrolone metabolites. As a result of the numerous overturned verdicts, the testing procedure was reviewed by UK Sport . On October 5, 2007, three-time Olympic gold medalist for track and field Marion Jones admitted to use of the drug, and was sentenced to six months in jail for lying to a federal grand jury in 2000.