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Injection (Depo-Provera)

Background

Depo-Provera (DMPA) is an injectable form of hormonal contraception. Depo-Provera is a synthetic form of progesterone called medroxyprogesterone acetate. It primarily works by preventing ovulation and by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Each injection provides protection for 12-13 weeks.

Advantages

  • High efficacy
  • No interference with sex
  • Helps to prevent cancer of the uterus
  • Does not contain estrogen
  • Often decreases bleeding and cramping with periods
  • Effective for 12-13 weeks

Disadvantages

  • Must receive an injection every 3 months
  • May cause irregular bleeding (especially in first 6-12 months), light bleeding, or eventually no bleeding
  • May take up to 9-10 months to resume ovulation/regain fertility after discontinuing use
  • Long term users may develop temporary and usually reversible decreased bone density. Calcium (1200 mg/day) and vitamin D supplements are recommended while using. May induce weight changes
  • May cause headaches
  • May worsen depression
  • No protection from STI's

Efficacy

Typical failure rate of 3%, while ideal failure rate is 0.3%.

Availability

Requies a prescription and frequent physician visits. Contact your health care provider or W&L Student Health Center for more information (458-8403)

Additional Information

  • Periods become fewer for most women and stop altogether for 50% of women after 12 injections
  • Although it may take 9-10 months to return to fertility, overall fertility is not reduced after this time