Depo-Provera

Generic Name: Medroxyprogesterone acetate

  • What is Depo-Provera?

    Depo-Provera is an injectable hormone used in the treatment of certain cancers including cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and kidney cancer.
  • What is the most important information I should know about Depo-Provera?

    Call your doctor immediately if any of these problems occur after an injection of Depo-Provera: sharp chest pain, coughing of blood, sudden shortness of breath, sudden severe headache or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, problems with your eyesight or speech, weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, severe pain or swelling in the calf, unusually heavy vaginal bleeding, severe pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area, migraine headache, or persistent pain, pus, or bleeding at the injection site.

    Studies indicate that using Depo-Provera may make you more prone to osteoporosis. Bone loss becomes greater the longer Depo-Provera is used, and may not be reversible.

    Studies of women who have used Depo-Provera for a long time have found virtually no increased risk of cancers of the breast, ovaries, liver, or cervix (mouth of the uterus). Some studies do show a slight increased risk of breast cancer in women younger than 35 years old who have taken Depo-Provera for a short time, but the increase is about three additional cases of breast cancer per 10,000 women. At the same time, Depo-Provera helps reduce the chance of cancer of the endometrium, or lining of the uterus.

    Depo-Provera may cause fluid retention, so if you have conditions that may be worsened by fluid retention, such as epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, heart disease, or kidney disease, make sure the doctor is aware of it.

    Depo-Provera tends to alter levels of blood sugar, so diabetic women need to be carefully observed by their doctors when taking Depo-Provera.

    If you develop jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by liver disease), you probably should not receive Depo-Provera again.

  • Who should not take Depo-Provera?

    You should not use Depo-Provera if you know or suspect you are pregnant, or if you have unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been diagnosed by a doctor. Also avoid Depo-Provera if you know or suspect you have breast cancer, or if you have liver disease. You should not take Depo-Provera if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it or to any of its ingredients.
  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Depo-Provera?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with this drug. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you or anyone in your family has ever had breast cancer or any problems with the breasts; if your menstrual periods have ever been irregular or spotty; if you have kidney disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, asthma, epilepsy, or a history of depression; or if you or anyone in your family has a history of diabetes.
  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: Depo-Provera is given as a single injection of 400-1,000 milligrams (mg) weekly. The maintenance dose is usually 400 mg a month once your condition stabilizes.

  • How should I take Depo-Provera?

    Depo-Provera is given by a doctor.
  • What should I avoid while taking Depo-Provera?

    Avoid missing any scheduled injections.
  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Depo-Provera?

    Check with your doctor before combining Depo-Provera with aminoglutethimide or estrogen.
  • What are the possible side effects of Depo-Provera?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain or discomfort, dizziness, headache, nervousness, unpredictable menstrual bleeding, weakness or fatigue, weight gain or loss

  • Can I receive Depo-Provera if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Depo-Provera is not given to pregnant women. If an unexpected pregnancy occurs 1 to 2 months after a Depo-Provera injection, the baby is more likely to have a low birth weight or other health problems; birth defects are possible if you use the drug during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Children born to women who were taking Depo-Provera show no signs of poor health or development. Because Depo-Provera does not prevent the breasts from producing milk, it can be used by women who are breastfeeding. However, to minimize the amount of Depo-Provera that is passed to the infant during the first weeks of life, the drug is not given until 6 weeks after childbirth. Studies show Depo-Provera is not harmful to the infant then or later in life.
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Depo-Provera?

    Ask your doctor for advice.
  • How should I store Depo-Provera?

    Depo-Provera is always given at a doctor's office or clinic, never at home.