Depo-Provera

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Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) is a birth control method for women that involves injecting the medication every three to four months. Women who use Depo-Provera correctly are 99% protected from pregnancy, though the medication does not protect from sexually-transmitted diseases at all; some patients will want to use condoms as well.

Less commonly this product is used as part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), to treat certain types of cancer, and to help treat abnormal uterine bleeding. With the exception of cancer and birth control, most patients use this product in tablet form, which can be found here.

Note that there are two types of injectable Depo-Provera, which some patients might find a little confusing:

  • Depo-Provera is the classic version of this medication, and what is sold on this page. It is injected intramuscularly, or into a muscle.
  • Depo-SubQ Provera 104 is a lighter-dose version of the medication. It is injected subcutaneously, or into tissue right below the skin.

The product on this page is Depo-Provera, injected intramuscularly. Both medications offer similar benefits and have similar risks.

Depo-Provera should be stored at room temperature. It does not need to be refrigerated.

Preventing Pregnancy

Depo-Provera's most widespread use is as a birth control agent. All it takes is one shot every 12 weeks, or three months. This method of birth control is convenient and discreet; no need to remember to take tablets every day or packages of pills laying around. Of course, patients will need to remember to inject the medication every three months.

The medication prevents ovulation and increases the thickness of cervical mucous. Combined these effects make it very difficult for sperm to pass the cervix and, if a few do, they won't find an egg to fertilize. Used as directed, it is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. In practice, since many women don't get the next injection right on time, it's closer to 94% effective.

Depo-Provera injections are usually administered in a health care setting by a doctor or nurse. Those who wish to use Depo-Provera at home must be sure it's injected intramuscularly; common sites include the thigh, hip, and buttocks. Thighs and buttocks are most common for self-administration; another person may be needed to inject it into the hip. Those who aren't sure about intramuscular injections should have it demonstrated by a doctor or do some research before attempting it.

Before the injection hands should be thoroughly washed and dried and all materials needed should be gathered:

  • Medication and syringe
  • Alcohol pads
  • Bandages

Disinfect the site with an alcohol pad, and after the injection use pressure and a bandage to stop any bleeding and prevent infection.

Administration may vary to some extent in patients who are significantly overweight or underweight. In the majority of otherwise healthy patients:

  • Administer 150 mg (1 mL) intramuscularly.
  • Vials or pre-filled syringes should be shaken vigorously right before use.
  • Repeat treatment every 12 to 13 weeks for as long as pregnancy is undesirable.

If pregnancy does become desirable, it should be possible three to four months after the last injection. In some cases it may take up to two years. There's no evidence suggesting that the longer the shot is used the longer it will take to get pregnant after stopping.

Treating Cancer

In cancer, Depo-Provera is usually used to treat endometrial cancer, which starts in the lining of the uterus and is most common in post-menopausal women, or renal cell carcinoma, which starts in the lining of small tubes in the kidneys and is relatively common in elderly men.

Treatment in both cases is similar:

  • Administer 400 mg to 1000 mg intramuscularly.
  • Repeat weekly for as long as a doctor recommends.

Other medications are usually given along with Depo-Provera; it's rare that Depo-Provera will be the only, or even the primary, treatment. However it can help significantly in stabilizing the disease, buying time for other medications to work or until the patient can undergo surgery.

Potential Complications

Depo-Provera can cause bone loss and it should be used with caution in individuals who have osteoporosis.

This product does nothing to prevent acquiring or spreading STDs.

Side effects are typically mild, though some may grow worse with continued use of the medication. Side effects include:

  • Changes in menstrual cycles
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Growth of facial and body hair (in both genders)
  • Loss of bone density

Menstrual changes are the most common side effect by far; many women have spotting or irregular periods. About half of women stop having periods altogether. This will reverse when treatment ends.

Depo-Provera

150mg-1ML medroxyprogesterone  1 Ea - $47.00
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1 Ea 150mg-1ML $47.00 Add
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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