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Birth Control Medications (Contraceptives) (cont.)

Long-Acting, Injectable, Progesterone-Only Contraceptives

Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera)

  • Use: Administration of the injection requires a visit to a doctor’s office. The first injection is given within 5 days following the onset of menstruation. After that, an injection is needed every 11-13 weeks. Unlike pills, the injection works right away; therefore, additional contraception is not needed when beginning the shots.
  • Side effects: Since progesterone is the only hormonal ingredient, estrogen-related side effects are avoided. A side effect unique to this method of birth control is that most women eventually stop having their periods. Because the drug is maintained in the body for a long time (at least 3 months), periods may take longer to resume after quitting injections, compared with birth control pills. Depo-Provera may last in the body for several months in women who have used it on a long-term basis and can actually delay the return to fertility after stopping the drug. Approximately 70% of former users desiring pregnancy conceive within 12 months, and 90% of former users conceive within 24 months. Other side effects include weight gain and depression.
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