Is there any truth to the advice: “Do not rub the site of a Depo-Provera injection?” #601/15

Q:        The doctor’s office gave me a handout sheet with my first Depo-Provera injection instructing me not to rub the injection site as this could decrease effectiveness.  Is there any truth to this?

A:        The 20th edition of Contraceptive Technology clearly states; Immediately after injection do not massage the area over the injection, because it could lower the effectiveness of DMPA. 

  1. There is additional truth to this advice. The Pathfinder training module on Depo-Provera (DMPA) says, “The site of the injection should not be massaged.”
  2. The World Health Organization monograph called Injectable Contraceptives; “The woman should be advised NOT TO MASSAGE THE SITE OF THE INJECTION,”
  3. The John Hopkins Population Information Program book, The Essentials of Contraceptive Technology, states: “Do NOT massage the injection site. Explain that this could cause DMPA to be absorbed too fast.”


Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA

June 24, 2015, July 13, 2015

Key Words: Depo-Provera injections, site, massage, Contraceptive Technology, World Health Organization, The John Hopkins Population Information book, The Essentials of Contraceptive Technology, absorbed, fast, effective

To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the Depo-Provera injections, go to:   You can order all of these books listed below from our website or by calling 404-875-5001. 


Bartz D, Goldbert AB. Injectable contraceptives IN Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates Jr. W, Kowal D, Policar MS. et al Contraceptive Technology, 20th edition, page 223: Ardent Media Inc. 2011

Current Books:

Contraceptive Technology 20th edition

Managing Contraception 2015-2016 edition

Choices 2014 edition

The authors advise consultation of a primary-care provider or a specialist before making decisions about, managing, or treating any problem discussed in these questions and answers.  Under no circumstances should the information provided on this website be used instead of, or to override the judgment of the treating provider.

choices_2013_Eng  mc2013


Posted on

July 14, 2015