Depo Provera Injection

What is Depo Provera?

Depo Provera is a hormonal form of birth control that is given by injection every 3 months (13 weeks). It is prescribed by doctors, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, and can only be administered by your health care provider. Depo Provera is intended only to prevent pregnancy and offers no protection against STD's.

How does it work?

Depo Provera prevents the release of egg cells (ovum) from the woman's ovaries. If an egg is not released from the ovary during the menstrual cycle, there is no chance of it becoming fertilized by sperm and resulting in pregnancy.

How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?

For typical and perfect use of Depo Provera the failure rate is 0.3%. The most important factor in maintaining effectiveness is remembering to schedule injections for every 12 to 14 weeks. The first injection is given during the first 5 days of a normal menstrual period, within 5 days after childbirth for the woman who is not breast feeding, or within 6 weeks after childbirth for the woman who is breast feeding.

Possible Side Effects

The most common side effects include irregular menstrual bleeding. amenorrhea (no menstrual bleeding), weight gain, headache, nervousness, stomach pain or cramps, dizziness, weakness or fatigue, and decreased sex drive.


The pamphlet distributed by UpJohn, the company that makes Depo Provera, states that using Depo Provera may be associated with a decrease in the amount of mineral stored in your bones. This can increase the risk for developing fractures. The use of Calcium Suplements is , therefore, recommended. Studies have shown no increased risk for cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, cervix or liver. However, UpJohn states that women under 35 years of age, whose first exposure to Depo Provera was within the past 4 years, may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer similar to that seen with the pill.

Who should not use Depo Provera?

You shouldn't use Depo Provera if you think that you may be pregnant, have any irregular vaginal bleeding with an unknown cause, have had breast cancer, have had a stroke, have had a blood clot in your legs, have any liver problems or liver disease, have any allergy to Depo Provera or the medication medroxyprogesterone acetate.