RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
In the first year of typical use, an estimated 3 out of 100 women using Depo-Provera will get pregnant.
After stopping Depo-Provera, it may be 10 months or more before you begin ovulating again. If you want to become pregnant in the next one to two years, Depo-Provera might not be the right birth control method for you.
Depo-Provera doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections. In fact, some studies suggest that hormonal contraceptives such as Depo-Provera may increase a woman's risk of HIV. It is not clear whether this association is due to the hormone or behavioral issues related to the use of reliable contraception. In light of these findings, the World Health Organization and other medical groups are re-examining the research on hormonal contraception and risk of HIV. If you're concerned about HIV, talk with your health care provider. He or she may suggest using condoms in addition to Depo-Provera.
Side effects of Depo-Provera may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Breast soreness
- Decreased interest in sex
- Irregular periods and breakthrough bleeding
- Loss of bone mineral density that may not be completely reversible
- Weakness and fatigue
- Weight gain
Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if you have:
- Heavy bleeding or concerns about your patterns of bleeding
- Pus, prolonged pain, redness, itching or bleeding at the injection site
- Severe lower abdominal pain
- Serious allergic reaction
- Signs of a blood clot in your leg, such as persistent pain in your calf
- Signs of a blood clot in your lung, such as coughing blood, sharp chest pain or sudden shortness of breath
- Signs of a stroke, such as a sudden severe headache, problems with vision or speech, or numbness in an arm or a leg
- Signs of a blood clot in your eye, such as sudden partial or complete blindness
- Other eye problems, such as double vision
- Signs of jaundice, such as yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
- Sudden onset of severe headaches
Many experts believe progestin-only contraceptive methods, such as Depo-Provera, carry significantly lower risks of these types of complications than do contraceptive methods that contain both estrogen and progestin.
- Zieman M. Overview of contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Depo-Provera (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer Inc.; 2009. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=0ceb4952-5af3-4b80-b8b5-cea4e9a5486d. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Depo-subQ Provera (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer Inc.: 2010. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=390087a6-f3c3-4f0b-a930-79acf412f153. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Kottke M. Nondaily contraceptive options: User benefits, potential for high continuation and counseling issues. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey. 2008;63:661.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 18, 2011.
- Kaunitz AM. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Depo-Provera contraceptive injection: Safety labeling changes. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/ucm232329.htm. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Zieman M, et al. A Pocket Guide to Managing Contraception. Tiger, Ga.: Bridging the Gap Communications; 2010:121.
- Depo-Provera. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.
- Depo-subQ Provera. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.
- Heffron R, et al. Use of hormonal contraceptives and risk of HIV-1 transmission: A prospective cohort study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. In press. Accessed Oct. 31, 2011.
- Statement on the Heffron et al study on the safety of using hormonal contraceptives for women at risk of HIV infection. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/entity/reproductivehealth/news/Statement_Heffron_study.pdf. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.