What's your most important message about Depo-Provera injections? #804/14


Women considering use of Depo-Provera should be encouraged NOT to if they will find it unacceptable if their periods change, because their periods WILL change.  That’s 100%!



1.   Depo-Provera injections each 3 months have the lowest continuation rates of any modern contraceptive.  One year continuation rates: 23% (Westfull-1996); 42% (Polaneczky 1996), 56.1% (Trussell -20th ed. Contraceptive Technology, p. 50), 59.4% (Schwallie-1973).

2.   Structured counseling has been shown to diminish discontinuation rates from Depo-Provera – induced bleeding problems. (Mexican study by Canto-DeCetina, 2001 Contraception).


Bleeding Problems            Usual Counseling    Structured Counseling

Amenorrhea                              17%            —>            3%

Irregular bleeding                       10%            —>            3%

Heavy bleeding                            5%            —>            2%

All bleeding problems                 32%             —>            8%


3.    It is possible that a subcutaneous (SQ) Depo injection, which would facilitate women doing their own injections (self injection), might increase continuation rates of contraceptive injections.  As it stands now Depo-Provera, 150mg each 3 months via deep intramuscular injections, requires more clinic visits than any modern contraceptive – 4 per year.


Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA

To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of Depo-Provera injections; go to: www.managingcontraception.com and click on Choices 2013 edition.  You can also order this wonderful new educational book from our website or by calling 404-875-5001.  Do you have your copy yet?  It is now available in English and Spanish.   

Key Words:  Depo-Provera injections, encouraged, unacceptable, period changes, lowest continuation rates, modern contraceptive, structured counseling, diminish, Mexican study, bleeding problems, subcutaneous, own injections, intramuscular, clinic visits


Contraceptive Technology 20th Edition

Managing Contraception 2014-2015

Choices 2013


Posted on

August 15, 2014