Medroxyprogesterone (Injection)


Medroxyprogesterone (me-drox-ee-proe-JES-ter-one)

Prevents pregnancy. Also treats pain related to endometriosis. This medicine is a form of progesterone (a hormone).

Brand Name(s)

Depo-Provera, Depo-Provera Contraceptive, Depo-SubQ Provera 104

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin or into a muscle.
  • Your doctor must make sure you are not pregnant before you start treatment with this medicine. For most women, this means you must receive your first shot during the first 5 days of a normal menstrual period. You will need receive this medicine every 3 months (12 to 14 weeks). Be sure to keep all appointments with your doctor to receive your injections.
  • If you are switching from another method of birth control, carefully follow your doctor's instructions about when to have your first injection.
  • If you plan to start this medicine after having a baby, you should receive your first shot within 5 days after your baby is born. If you plan to breastfeed your new baby, talk to your doctor about when to get your first shot. Some doctors 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 doctor about using a different form of birth control.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet. You need to have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your doctor might suggest that you take supplements.
  • This medicine may come with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • You must have this shot every 12 to 14 weeks to prevent pregnancy. If you do not get another shot after 14 weeks, talk with your doctor. You may need to use another form of birth control and wait until your next menstrual period before starting the shots again.
  • If you are not using this medicine for birth control, it is still important for you to have the shot on schedule to keep the endometriosis under control. If you must miss an appointment, schedule another one as soon as possible.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using aminoglutethimide (Cytadren┬«).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant might harm your unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have diabetes or if you have ever suffered from depression.
  • This medicine may cause your bones to lose calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis (thin or weak bones). This calcium loss could continue the whole time you are using this medicine. Your bones should start to rebuild calcium after you stop using this medicine. This is more of a concern if you:
    • Are a teenager.
    • Smoke or drink alcohol regularly.
    • Use other medicines that also affect your bones, such as steroids or medicine to treat seizures.
    • Have other bone problems.
    • Have anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder).
    • Have a family history of osteoporosis.
  • Most women have changes in their menstrual periods while using this medicine. You might have irregular bleeding, spotting, or heavier or lighter periods. Many women stop having periods. Call your doctor if you have very heavy or nonstop bleeding.
  • There is a very slight chance that this medicine could increase the risk of breast cancer in some women. Talk to your doctor about this risk. Make sure your doctor knows if anyone in your family has had breast cancer.
  • This medicine could make you retain water. Tell your doctor if you have epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, heart disease, or kidney disease, because these conditions might change if your body is retaining water.
  • You will need to talk to your doctor if you have any changes in your vision or if you get migraines.
  • If you plan to have children after you stop using this medicine, it may take up to year or longer before you can become pregnant. However, do not depend on this medicine to prevent pregnancy for more than 13 weeks.
  • This medicine will not protect you from getting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. If this is a concern for you, talk with your doctor.
  • You will need to talk with your doctor if you want to use this medicine for more than two years. You might need to be tested to make sure your bones are not losing too much calcium.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood.
  • Migraine headache, double vision.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf).
  • Severe pain in your stomach or abdomen, especially on only one side.
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking.
  • Unusual bleeding from your vagina.
  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Acne.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Mild headache.
  • Mild nausea or diarrhea.
  • Mood changes.
  • Redness, pain, swelling, or changes on your skin where the shot was given.
  • Weight gain.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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