It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your dosage to be adjusted to your changing needs, and will allow any unwanted effects to be detected. These visits are usually every 12 months when you are taking progestins by mouth for birth control.
- If you are receiving the medroxyprogesterone injection for contraception, a physical exam is needed only every 12 months, but you need an injection every 3 months. Your doctor will also want to check you for any bone development or growth problems, especially if you are a teenager or young adult.
Progestins may cause dizziness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
It is possible that certain doses of progestins may cause a temporary thinning of the bones by changing your hormone balance. It is important that your doctor know if you have an increased risk of osteoporosis. Some things that can increase your risk for osteoporosis include cigarette smoking, abusing alcohol, taking or drinking large amounts of caffeine, and having a family history of osteoporosis or easily broken bones. Some medicines, such as steroids (cortisone-like medicines) or anticonvulsants (seizure medicines), can also cause thinning of the bones. It is especially important that you tell your doctor about any of these risk factors if you are taking Depo-Provera® Contraceptive Injection or Depo-SubQ Provera® 104. These contraceptives may cause a loss of bone mineral density. Your doctor may replace these contraceptives with a different one.
Vaginal bleeding of various amounts may occur between your regular menstrual periods during the first 3 months of use. This is not unusual and does not mean you should stop the medicine. This is sometimes called spotting when the bleeding is slight, or breakthrough bleeding when it is heavier. If this occurs, continue on your regular dosing schedule. Check with your doctor:
- If vaginal bleeding continues for an unusually long time.
- If your menstrual period has not started within 45 days of your last period.
Missed menstrual periods may occur. If you suspect a pregnancy, you should call your doctor immediately.
If you are scheduled for any laboratory tests, tell your doctor that you are taking a progestin. Progestins can change certain test results.
The following medicines might reduce the effectiveness of progestins for contraception:
- Aminoglutethimide (e.g., Cytadren®)
- Carbamazepine (e.g., Tegretol®)
- Phenytoin (e.g., Dilantin®)
- Rifabutin (e.g., Mycobutin®)
- Rifampin (e.g., Rifadin®)
Sometimes your doctor may use these medicines with progestins for contraception, but the doctor will give you special directions to follow to make sure your progestin is working properly. In order to prevent pregnancy, use a second method of birth control together with the progestin when you also use a medicine that could reduce the effectiveness of the progestin. If you are using medroxyprogesterone injection for contraception, continue using a back-up method of birth control until you have your next injection, even if the medicine that affects contraceptives is discontinued. If you are using the oral tablets, continue using a back-up method of birth control for a full cycle (or 4 weeks), even if the medicine that affects contraceptives is discontinued.
If you vomit your oral progestin-only contraceptive for any reason within a few hours after taking it, do not take another dose. Return to your regular dosing schedule and use an additional back-up method of birth control for 48 hours.
If you are receiving levonorgestrel tablets for emergency contraception and vomiting occurs within 1 hour after taking either dose of the medicine, contact your physician to discuss whether the dose should be repeated.