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Depo-Provera Contraceptive (injection)

Generic Name: medroxyprogesterone (injection) (me DROX ee proe JES ter one)
Brand Name: Depo-Provera, Depo-Provera Contraceptive, depo-subQ provera 104

Medically reviewed on April 13, 2017

What is Depo-Provera Contraceptive?

Depo-Provera Contraceptive is a form of progesterone, a female hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Depo-Provera Contraceptive also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Depo-Provera Contraceptive is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to reduce pain caused by endometriosis.

Depo-Provera Contraceptive is also used to ease pain and other symptoms in women with metastatic uterine or kidney cancer. This medicine is not a cure for these conditions.

Depo-Provera Contraceptive may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Depo-Provera Contraceptive can cause birth defects. Do not use if this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during or soon after treatment with this medicine.

You should not use Depo-Provera Contraceptive if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, liver disease, or a history of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.

You should not use this medicine for longer than 2 years. Depo-Provera Contraceptive can decrease the calcium stored in your bones, which may cause bone loss (osteoporosis).

Before taking this medicine

Depo-Provera Contraceptive can cause birth defects. Do not use if Depo-Provera Contraceptive if you are pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before you start this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, or if you plan to become pregnant soon after you stop using this medicine.

You should not use Depo-Provera Contraceptive if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • unusual vaginal bleeding;

  • liver disease;

  • a history of breast cancer; or

  • a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.

You should not use this medicine for longer than 2 years. Depo-Provera Contraceptive can decrease the calcium stored in your bones, which may cause bone loss (osteoporosis) when used over long periods of time. Bone loss may not be reversible. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.

To make sure Depo-Provera Contraceptive is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • high blood pressure, congestive heart failure;

  • migraine headaches;

  • hereditary angioedema;

  • breast nodules, or a family history of breast cancer;

  • a personal or family history of diabetes;

  • asthma;

  • low bone mineral density, or a family history of osteoporosis;

  • seizures;

  • depression, or an eating disorder;

  • light, heavy, or irregular menstrual periods;

  • a adrenal gland disorder;

  • if you have ever had a breast lump, an abnormal mammogram, or bleeding from your nipples; or

  • if you drink large amounts of alcohol or if you smoke.

If you are breast-feeding a baby, wait until your baby is at least 6 weeks old before using this medicine.

How should I use Depo-Provera Contraceptive?

Depo-Provera Contraceptive is injected into a muscle or under the skin. This medicine may be given once per week or once every 3 months, depending on why you are using the medicine. Follow your doctor's instructions.

When used for birth control, Depo-Provera Contraceptive is given by a healthcare provider. For other conditions, you may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

You may have breakthrough bleeding while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive. Tell your doctor if this bleeding continues or is very heavy.

This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine.

Your doctor will need to see you on a regular basis while you are using Depo-Provera Contraceptive. If you use this medicine long-term, your bone density may need to be checked during treatment.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of Depo-Provera Contraceptive.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive?

Depo-Provera Contraceptive will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.

This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Depo-Provera Contraceptive side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • menstrual periods that are heavier or longer than normal;

  • severe pain in your lower stomach;

  • swelling in your face, or your hands, ankles, and feet;

  • pain, bleeding, oozing (pus), or skin changes where the injection was given;

  • symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, mood changes);

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;

  • signs of a blood clot in the lung--chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood; or

  • signs of a blood clot in your leg--pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.

Common side effects may include:

  • changes in your menstrual periods;

  • swelling, weight gain (especially in your face);

  • headache, dizziness;

  • mild stomach pain; or

  • feeling weak, tired, or nervous.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Depo-Provera Contraceptive?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with medroxyprogesterone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.