Depo-Provera (contraceptive injection)

Depo-Provera is a well-known brand name for medroxyprogesterone, a contraceptive injection for women that contains the hormone progestin. Depo-Provera is given as an injection once every three months. Depo-Provera typically suppresses ovulation, keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Depo-Provera also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

Medroxyprogesterone acetate is also available in a lower dosage. This version is called Depo-SubQ Provera 104. While Depo-Provera is injected deep into the muscle, Depo-SubQ Provera 104 is injected just beneath the skin.

Depo-Provera and Depo-SubQ Provera 104 have similar benefits and risks. To use Depo-Provera or Depo-SubQ Provera 104, you'll need to visit your doctor or other health care provider.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect

Depo-Provera is used for contraception. Your health care provider might recommend Depo-Provera if:

  • You don't want to take a birth control pill every day
  • You want or need to avoid using estrogen
  • You have health problems such as anemia, seizures, sickle cell disease, endometriosis or uterine fibroids

Among various benefits, Depo-Provera:

  • Doesn't require daily attention
  • Eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception
  • Decreases menstrual cramps and pain
  • Lessens menstrual blood flow, and in some cases stops menstruation
  • Decreases the risk of endometrial cancer

Depo-Provera isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of Depo-Provera if you have:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Sensitivity to any components of Depo-Provera
  • Risk factors for osteoporosis
  • A history of depression

In addition, tell your health care provider if you have diabetes or a history of heart disease or stroke.

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