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Depo-Provera ®

Depo-Provera ® is a prescribed hormone (a progestin) that is injected into either a woman's upper arm or buttocks by a doctor or nurse. It is given 4 times per year, every 3 months.

How does Depo-Provera ® work?

It works by:

  • Stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg, which prevents pregnancy.
  • Decreasing the lining of the uterus so that it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.
  • Thickening the cervical mucus so that it is difficult for sperm to get to the egg.

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How effective is it?

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Where can I get it?

  • A prescription is needed to get Depo-Provera ®.
  • You need to get it in a medical clinic or office as a nurse or doctor uses a needle to administer Depo-Provera ®.

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Who can use it?

  • Most women can use this method of birth control.
  • Depo-Provera ® is not recommended for women who are pregnant, have unusual vaginal bleeding, breast cancer, liver disease, or blood clotting problems.
  • Consult your doctor about any other conditions you have that may interfere with the use of Depo-Provera ®.

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What is the cost of Depo-Provera ®?

  • Depo-Provera ® costs about $35-45 per injection.
  • The needle is given four times per year... so your annual cost is approximately $140-$180 /year.
  • Some sexual health clinics may provide Depo-Provera ® at a lower cost.

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What are the advantages/disadvantages to using Depo-Provera ®?


  • Nothing must be taken daily or used at the time of intercourse; therefore this method of birth control does not interrupt lovemaking.
  • It is very effective (99.7%), when taken every 3 months.
  • Allows the female to be in control of her reproductive health.
  • May decrease menstrual cramps.
  • May decrease length of period.
  • Some women may not get a period at all.
  • May cause a decrease in depression.


  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) .
  • May cause an increase in depression.
  • Some women may have very irregular periods.
  • Some women may gain weight.
  • May take 6-8 months for a normal period to return after discontinuing use.
  • May take 6-18 months to get pregnant after discontinuing use.
  • Some may be allergic to Depo-Provera ®, but it is very rare.
  • Side effects may continue for 8 months after your last needle.
  • Risk of osteoporosis (low bone density mass) increases after 2 years use.

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