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Birth Control Hormonal Methods (cont.)

Injections and combination injections

Patient Comments

An injection of the synthetic hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA, Depo-Provera) can be administered every 3 months to inhibit ovulation and, thus, provide contraception. The injection is given at a doctor's office. Following the injection, the medication is active within 24 hours and lasts for 3 months.

  • Effectiveness: DMPA is an extremely effective contraceptive option. Most other medications or patient weight do not diminish its efficacy. The use failure rate with this method is reported to be 0.3% during the first year of use.
  • Advantages: DMPA does not produce serious side effects such as those caused by estrogen. It acts to lower the risk for certain endometrial and ovarian cancers. This method also acts to thin the uterine lining so that, for many women, menstrual bleeding may cease altogether.
  • Disadvantages and side effects: Following cessation of Depo-Provera, in some somen menstrual bleeding may not resume for over a year. In others irregular bleeding may ensue. Irregular menstruation can be treated by giving the next dose earlier or by temporarily adding a low-dose estrogen product. In women who have used DMPA on a long term basis ovulation may be delayed. Thus a return to fertility may also be inhibited until after the long term effects of the drug have subsided. Approximately 70% of former users desirous of pregnancy will conceive within 12 months, and 90% of former users conceive within 24 months. Other side effects, such as weight gain and depression may continue for as long as 1 year after the last injection. Recent studies suggest a possible link between DMPA and diminished bone density. This method does not protect against STDs.

Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE: Samra-Latif, O. M., MD. "Contraception." Medscape. Updated Aug 16, 2016.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Hormonal Methods of Birth Control :

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What kind of hormonal birth control method have you or your partner used? Was it effective?

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Hormonal Methods of Birth Control - Injections

Please share your experience with using injections to prevent pregnancy.

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