Contraceptive Injection


In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for the medroxyprogesterone contraceptive injection, trade name Depo-ProveraTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Medroxyprogesterone contraceptive injection is hormonal birth control. If you are using this medication for a reason other than birth control, talk about it with your doctor.

Progestin-only hormone therapy prevents pregnancy by changing the environment in the womb. This medication makes it difficult for the sperm to fertilize an egg, or for a fertilized egg to attach to the wall of the womb.

Progestin-only therapy is more effective birth control than condoms or diaphragms; however, it is not as effective as estrogen/progestin combination therapy because it does not consistently prevent ovulation. This therapy is usually used by women who are unable to take estrogens for one reason or another.

This medication is given every 3 months as an intra-muscular injection by your health care provider. Your first injection should be given during the first 5 days of your menstrual period to assure you are not pregnant. Your doctor will discuss with you the best time to receive your injection.

Missing a dose of this medication is when you have gone more than 13 weeks without an injection. If you have gone more than 13 weeks since your last injection, use a backup form of birth control such as a condom or spermicide until you visit your health care provider and get your next injection.

Most Important Warnings

  • This medication may cause serious bone loss. The risk of bone loss increases with longer use of this medication. The risk may not be reversible when you stop this medication. The use of this medication in adolescence or early adulthood will decrease bone mass and increase risk of future bone fractures.

Other Warnings & Cautions

  • Do not use this medication if you are pregnant, might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you are using this medication and think you might be pregnant, talk with your doctor right away.
  • This medication will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • While using this birth control, your periods have the potential of being variable, and you may have some spotting between periods. If you use this medication for more than a year, your periods may stop altogether. Your periods will usually resume after you stop using this medication.
  • While using hormonal birth control it is possible that your skin may develop dark patches. Sun exposure may make this worse. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and tanning booths. Use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when necessary.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if this medication is safe for you to take.
  • Taking other medications may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control and lead to an unintended pregnancy. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current or past health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any bone density disease, circulation issues, heart, thyroid, diabetes, liver, blood clots, cancer, incomplete miscarriage, abortion, mental disease, or any other medical condition you have experienced.
  • While using this medication, you may feel some nausea, headache, bloating or dizziness. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • If you experience any significant changes in vaginal bleeding, problems wearing contact lenses, unwanted facial hair, dark patches on your skin, significant weight change, or if you miss your period, contact your doctor to talk about it.
  • Call your doctor right away if you feel a severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or balance, an increase in depression, swelling in your body or any breast lumps.
  • Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20