How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Medroxyprogesterone acetate belongs to the class of medication known as progestogens. It is used to prevent pregnancy. It works by preventing a woman's egg from completely developing. It also thickens the mucus around the cervix, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg. Medroxyprogesterone acetate is also used to treat endometriosis.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Depo-Provera SC is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under medroxyprogesterone acetate injection. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
For birth control, the recommended intramuscular (IM) dose is 150 mg injected into a muscle by a health care professional every 3 months. Intervals between injections must not be more than 13 weeks. If an injection is not received within 13 weeks, a pregnancy test should be done before any further treatment with medroxyprogesterone.
This medication is usually started within the first 5 days after the onset of a normal menstrual period. If the injection is given within the first 5 days after the onset of a normal menstrual period, it is effective from the day of injection. However, if it is given later during the menstrual cycle, it may not be effective for the first 3 to 4 weeks after the injection. A non-hormonal "back-up" method of birth control, such as latex condoms with spermicidal foam or jelly, should be used during this time.
After having a baby, the first injection of medroxyprogesterone should be given within 5 days of giving birth, if the mother does not plan to breast feed the baby. If the mother is going to breast feed, the first dose should not be injected until at least 6 weeks after the birth of the baby.
When used to treat endometriosis, the usual dose is 50 mg injected into a muscle once a week, or 100 mg injected into a muscle every second week for at least 6 months.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is very important that this medication be used exactly as prescribed by the doctor. This preparation is not to be used intravenously (injected into a vein). If you miss an appointment to receive medroxyprogesterone acetate injection, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from freezing and light, and keep it out of the reach of children. It should be shaken well just before using.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use medroxyprogesterone if you:
- are allergic to medroxyprogesterone or any ingredients of the medication
- are or may be pregnant
- have a history of clotting disorders, or blood clots
- have risk factors for developing blood clots (e.g., severe high blood pressure, genetic changes that cause blood clots, severe cholesterol problems, are a heavy smoker and over age 35, have blood vessel problems because of diabetes)
- have a history of heart attack or heart disease
- have a history of migraines with auras
- have a history of stroke
- have liver disease
- have or may have a cancer that is dependent on progestin
- have undiagnosed vaginal or urinary tract bleeding
- have undiagnosed or confirmed breast problems (e.g., cancer)
- have vision problems caused by vascular disease
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- abdominal pain or cramping
- back or joint pain
- breast swelling or tenderness
- changes in menstrual bleeding:
- increased amounts of menstrual bleeding occurring at regular monthly periods
- heavier uterine bleeding between regular monthly periods
- lighter uterine bleeding between menstrual periods
- stopping of menstrual periods
- decreased bone mineral density
- hot flashes
- increased appetite
- leg cramps
- loss or gain of body, facial, or scalp hair
- loss of sexual desire
- lump, indentation, scar, or change in colour at the injection site
- mild headache
- pain or irritation at place of injection
- pain in the pelvic area
- skin reaction or irritation at the site of injection
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- breast lumps
- headache or migraine that gets worse
- signs of depression (such as feeling sad, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, weight changes, changes in sleep habits, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, thoughts of suicide)
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- swelling of the arms or legs
- symptoms of a urinary tract infection (e.g. pain when urinating, urinating more often than usual, low back or flank pain)
- unexpected vaginal bleeding
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- broken bones
- difficulty moving a part of your body (paralysis)
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
- signs of blood clots (e.g., coughing up of blood; pains in chest, groin, or leg, especially in calf of leg; swelling or redness in the legs; sudden loss of vision or developing double vision)
- signs of heart attack (e.g., sudden chest pain; pain radiating to back, down arm, jaw; sensation of fullness of the chest; nausea; vomiting; sweating; anxiety)
- signs of stroke (e.g., confusion; sudden or severe headache; sudden loss of coordination; sudden change in vision; sudden slurring of speech; unexplained weakness, numbness, or pain in arm or leg)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Blood clots: This medication has been associated with blood clots developing in the bloodstream. These blood clots may form anywhere in the body but are more noticeable when they occur in the large muscles, lung, brain (stroke), or heart (heart attack). If you experience pain in the chest or leg, unexplained shortness of breath, blurred vision or slurred speech, contact your doctor immediately.
Certain conditions such as long-term bed confinement may make blood clots more likely. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of temporarily stopping this medication if you are scheduled for surgery, and let all doctors involved in your care know that you are taking this medication.
Bone loss: Medroxyprogesterone causes bone loss, and adolescent women whose bones are still forming and have not yet reached their peak bone mass should discuss any concerns with their doctor. It is not known if this will influence peak bone mass and increase the risk of osteoporosis in the future. If you are considering using this medication, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
The amount of bone loss depends on how long a woman uses this medication. This bone loss may not be completely reversible. You should discuss these risks with your doctor. The risk of bone effects may be greatest in early adulthood and adolescence.
Cancer: For some women, there may be a slightly increased risk of breast cancer associated with the use of medroxyprogesterone acetate injection. Long-term studies showed no increased risk of ovarian, liver, or cervical cancer, and a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about this medication.
Cigarette smoking: There is an increased risk of negative side effects on the heart and blood vessels for women who smoke and are using medroxyprogesterone acetate. If you smoke, discuss the benefits of stopping smoking with your doctor or pharmacist. There are tools that are available to make this easier.
Depression: Hormones, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate have been known to cause mood swings and symptoms of depression. If you have depression or a history of depression, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience symptoms of depression such as poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, or decreased interest in activities, or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Diabetes: Some women receiving medroxyprogesterone experience decreased blood glucose control. For this reason, women with diabetes should carefully monitor their blood glucose while receiving medroxyprogesterone acetate. Discuss with your doctor the ideal frequency with which you should check your blood glucose.
Fertility: Research indicates there is no evidence that medroxyprogesterone causes infertility. It may take some time for the injection to wear off, and most women must wait about 6 to 8 months after the last injection to start ovulating, having regular periods, and be able to become pregnant.
Fluid retention: Since progestogens may cause some degree of fluid retention, conditions such as epilepsy, migraine, asthma, or reduced heart or kidney function might be influenced by this medication. If you have any of these conditions, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
High blood pressure: The fluid retention mentioned above can contribute to increased blood pressure. If you are treating high blood pressure or may be at risk of developing high blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Irregular menstrual patterns: Menstrual patterns commonly change following the use of medroxyprogesterone. This includes irregular or unpredictable bleeding or spotting or, rarely, heavy or continuous bleeding. If undiagnosed vaginal bleeding occurs, or if abnormal bleeding persists or is severe, consult your doctor.
As women continue to use medroxyprogesterone, fewer experience irregular bleeding patterns and more do not menstruate at all. By Month 12, about 55% of women no longer have periods, and by Month 24, about 68% of women using medroxyprogesterone do not have periods. Because of the prolonged effect of the medication, re-establishment of menstruation may be delayed and difficult to predict.
Liver disease: If you have liver disease or are at risk of developing liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. The doctor will probably monitor liver function with regular blood tests. If you develop signs of liver disease (such as yellowing of the skin or eyes; or swelling, pain, or tenderness in the upper abdominal area), contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Migraine and headache: Medroxyprogesterone acetate may make migraine symptoms worse. The onset or worsening of a migraine or the development of new types of recurrent, persistent, or severe headaches should be reported to your doctor. If you already experience migraine or severe headaches, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Sexually transmitted infections: This medication does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. For protection against these, use latex condoms.
Weight changes: Weight gain may be associated with the use of medroxyprogesterone. The majority of studies report an average weight gain of 2.5 kg at the end of one year, but only 2% of women stopped treatment due to excessive weight gain.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used by pregnant women. To help ensure a woman is not pregnant at the time of the first injection, it is recommended that the first injection be given only within the first 5 days of the onset of a normal menstrual period, or only within the first 5 days after childbirth if the mother is not breast-feeding.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking medroxyprogesterone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Medroxyprogesterone is not intended to be used for young women before menstruation begins (menarche). It should only be used for adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age when there is no other suitable medication or form of birth control.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between medroxyprogesterone acetate injection and any of the following:
- "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital, butalbital)
- diabetes medications (e.g., acarbose, canagliflozin, glyburide, insulin, linagliptin, lixisenatide, metformin, rosiglitazone)
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- lumacaftor and ivacaftor
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., ceritinib, dabrafenib, erlotinib)
- retinoic acid medications (e.g., acitretin, etretinate, isotretinoin, tretinoin)
- St. John's wort
- seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, gabapentin, levetiracetam, phenytoin, rufinamide, topiramate)
- tranexamic acid
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Depo-Provera-SC