1 What is Depo-Provera?

Brand: Depo-Provera, Depo-Provera Contraceptive

Generic: Medroxyprogesterone

Depo-Provera injection is a steroidal progestin used for the prevention of pregnancy by stopping a woman's egg from fully developing each month. Surgery or abstinence is more effective methods compared to this drug. 

This drug does not prevent transmission of AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency contraception is not possible with this drug.

This drug is also used for relief of symptoms of inoperable, recurrent, and metastatic endometrial or kidney cancer. This drug is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your healthcare professional.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Depo-Provera, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. 

Studies in children regarding the relationship of age to the effects of Depo-Provera CIВ® have not been performed. Pediatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of this drug in teenagers are not expected. This drug may be used for birth control in teenage females, but is not recommended for use before the start of menstruation. 

Studies in the elderly regarding the relationship of age to the effects of Depo-Provera CIВ® have not been performed in the geriatric population. This drug is not recommended for use in elderly women.

Studies in the elderly have not demonstrated any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of Depo-ProveraВ®. Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. 

Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects. 

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as:

  • Tranexamic Acid
  • Carbamazepine
  • Dabrafenib
  • Darunavir
  • Isotretinoin
  • Theophylline
  • Amprenavir
  • Aprepitant
  • Atazanavir
  • Bacampicillin
  • Betamethasone
  • Bexarotene
  • Colesevelam
  • Cyclosporine
  • Delavirdine
  • Efavirenz
  • Etravirine
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Griseofulvin
  • Lamotrigine
  • Licorice
  • Mycophenolate
  • Mofetil
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Nelfinavir
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Prednisolone
  • Primidone
  • Rifapentine
  • Ritonavir
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Rufinamide
  • Selegiline
  • Telaprevir
  • Topiramate
  • Troleandomycin
  • Warfarin

Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as:

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Depo-Provera requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. A trained healthcare professional will be only to give you this drug in a hospital or clinic. This drug is injected into one of your muscles.

Depo-ProveraВ® is initially given on a weekly basis, but the frequency will be reduced over time. Your healthcare professional must make sure you are not pregnant before you start treatment with this drug. 

Women must receive their first shot during the first 5 days of a normal menstrual period. This drug must be given every 3 months. You should receive your first shot within 5 days after your baby is born if you plan to start this drug after having a baby. Consult with your healthcare professional about when to get your first shot if you plan to breastfeed your new baby. 

Some healthcare professionals may suggest waiting 6 weeks before getting your first shot, but others may suggest getting the shot sooner after the baby is born. If you wait 6 weeks, talk to your healthcare professional about using an alternative form of birth control. Consult with your healthcare professional if you are switching from another method of birth control. 

You will be prescribed with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Call your health care professional or pharmacist for instructions if you miss a dose. You must have your shot of Depo-Provera CIВ® every 12 to 14 weeks to prevent pregnancy. 

Talk with your healthcare professional if you do not get another shot after 14 weeks. You may need to use another form of birth control and wait until your next menstrual period before starting the shots again.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Depo-Provera, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug. Your healthcare professional will check your blood pressure once a year.

This drug has teratogenic potential which can harm your unborn baby. Inform your healthcare professional immediately if you think you have become pregnant while using the drug. 

This drug can cause osteoporosis which can cause concern if you are a teenager, smoke or drink alcohol regularly, have other bone problems, anorexia nervosa, a family history of osteoporosis, or use other drugs that also affect your bones. Consult with your healthcare professional if you want to use this drug for more than 2 years. 

You might need to be tested to make sure your bones are not losing too much calcium. Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves, difficulty with breathing, a sudden, severe headache, slurred speech, a sudden, unexplained shortness of breath, a sudden loss of coordination, or vision changes while using this drug. 

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have blurred vision, difficulty with reading or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. You may be referred to an ophthalmologist to have your eyes checked. The risk of breast cancer in some women can be slightly increased by this drug. 

Make sure your healthcare professional knows if anyone in your family has had breast cancer. Call your healthcare professional immediately if you have severe lower abdominal or stomach pain 3 to 5 weeks after receiving Depo-Provera CIВ®.

This drug can cause you to have an ectopic pregnancy which can affect your future pregnancies. Most women have changes in their menstrual periods while using Depo-Provera CIВ®. 

You might have irregular bleeding, spotting, or heavier or lighter periods. Many women stop having periods. Call your healthcare professional if you have very heavy or nonstop bleeding. This drug may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. 

Call your healthcare professional immediately if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after receiving this drug.

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem. This drug may cause fluid retention and weight gain in some patients. 

Tell your healthcare professional immediately if you have bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet, tingling of hands or feet, or unusual weight gain or loss.

If you plan to have children after you stop using Depo-Provera CIВ®, it may take up to year or longer before you can become pregnant. However, do not depend on this drug to prevent pregnancy for more than 13 weeks. 

Depo-Provera CIВ® will not protect you from getting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections. If this is a concern for you, talk with your healthcare professional. Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical healthcare professional in charge that you are using this drug. 

The results of some tests may be affected by this drug. Check with your healthcare professional before you take any other prescription or nonprescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Depo-Provera to avoid unwanted potential side effects. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as: 

  • absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • menstrual changes
  • stopping of menstrual bleeding
  • breast pain
  • cramps
  • heavy bleeding
  • increased clear or white vaginal discharge
  • itching of the vagina or genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • swelling thick
  • white vaginal
  • discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • anxiety
  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in the stools
  • burning
  • crawling
  • itching
  • numbness
  • prickling, "pins and needles"
  • tingling feelings
  • changes in skin color
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • clear or bloody discharge from the nipple
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • the decrease in height
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • the difficulty with breathing
  • the difficulty with swallowing
  • dimpling of the breast skin
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dull ache or feeling of pressure or heaviness in the legs
  • fainting, fast
  • pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • fever
  • headache
  • hives,
  • increased thirst
  • inverted nipple
  • itching
  • itching skin near damaged veins
  • loss of appetite
  • lump in the breast or under the arm
  • nausea
  • no sensation in the legs
  • noisy breathing
  • pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs
  • pain, redness, tenderness, or swelling of the arm, foot, or leg, pale skin
  • persistent crusting or scaling of the nipple
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rash, redness or swelling of the breast
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • sore on the skin of the breast that does not heal
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled to breathe
  • swollen feet and ankle
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unable to move the leg
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood yellows eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. 

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.