Depo-Provera FAQ

Q:  What is  Depo-Provera?

A:  Depo-Provera belongs to the classification known as “progestins” in the form of injectable contraception for the prevention of pregnancy.

Q:  Can Depo-Provera stop the spread of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases or STDs?

A:  The answer is no. Depo-Provera serves as a birth control method but it does not and cannot prevent the proliferation of HIV and other STDs.

Q:  Is there any updates about Depo-Provera?

A:  US FDA gave its announcement in November 2004 about the block box warning that must be added to their labeling of Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection. The label alerts the Depo-Provera users that prolonged use of this procedure may cause loss of bone density, and the longer you use this drug can cause more harm to human health.

Q:  What should I know before using Depo-Provera?

A:  Depo-Provera is normally administered by a healthcare provider in a clinic or office. You should have your initial Depo-Provera injection at the period when you are sure you are not pregnant. If you were using a different birth control method and you are changing to Depo-Provera, your healthcare provider will instruct you when you should have your first injection.  There will be changes in your menstrual cycle when you start using Depo-Provera. Have a complete physical exam at least once a year, and inform your laboratory technician that you are using the Depo-Provera method before going through any laboratory tests.

Q:  Is there any severe health risks related to the use of Depo-Provera?

A: If you are below 35 years old and you have started your Depo-Provera procedure in the last 4 to 5 years, you may be subjected to potential risks of developing breast cancer. Depo-Provera may also increase chances that you will have blood clots to your lungs and brain. Consult with your healthcare provider about the potential risks of using Depo-Provera method.

Q:  What are the side effects which are Depo-Provera related?

A:  Inform your healthcare provider if you are persistently experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Changes in menstrual cycles
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Hot flashes
  • Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Breast pain
  • Stomach cramps or bloating
  • Swelling or tenderness
  • Pain at the back or joint pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Symptoms of colds and flu
  • Loss of hair on the scalp
  • Redness, swelling, irritation, burning sensation, or itching of the vagina
  • White vaginal discharges
  • Changes in sexual desires
  • Redness, scarring, lumps, pain, and irritation in the body part where the medication was injected

The following symptoms associated with the use Depo-Provera are serious and if you are experiencing any of these, you need to consult with your healthcare professional right away:

  • Unexpected sharp or crushing chest pain
  • Coughing with blood
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Seizure
  • Changed or loss of vision or double vision; bulging eyes
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Severe headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Acute pain or tenderness below the waist
  • Weakness or numbness in one arm or leg
  • Swelling, warmth sensation, redness, tenderness, and pain in one leg
  • Intense tiredness
  • Heavy and longer menstrual bleeding
  • Rashes, hives, itching
  • Swelling of the hands, lower legs, feet, or ankles
  • Painful, difficulty or frequent urination
  • Persistent pain, warmth sensation, swelling, with pus or bleeding in the body part where the injection was done

Q:  What should I tell my healthcare provider before she/he prescribes the Depo-Provera method?

A:  Inform your healthcare provider of the following:

  • If you have some allergies with Depo-Provera or medroxyprogesterone, or any other treatments;
  • If you are taking or planning to take any prescription and/or nonprescription procedures, vitamins, herbal  products or nutritional supplements;
  • If you or any of your family member has a history of breast cancer or diabetes;
  • If you are or had some breasts problems such as lumps, bleeding from nipples, or had abnormal mammogram results;
  • If you have a history or any fibrocystic breast illness, characterized by swollen, tender breasts or lumps that are not diagnosed with cancer;
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding;
  • Very light or irregular menstrual periods;
  • Extreme weight gain or fluid retention before your menstrual periods;
  • Blood clots in your eyes, brain, lungs, and legs
  • Stroke or mild strokes;
  • Hypertension
  • Heart attack
  • Heart, liver or kidney problems
  • Migraine headaches;
  • Asthma
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • If you are pregnant, feels pregnant, or plans to be pregnant;
  • If you are breastfeeding your baby
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, inform the healthcare provider or your dentist that you are using Depo-Provera.

Q:  Is there any special diet that I should follow while using Depo-Provera method?

A:  While on Depo-Provera method, you should eat lots of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to help improve the loss of calcium in your bones Healthcare provider must recommend foods rich in nutrients, quantity or how many servings you need every day, and the intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Q:  What should I do if I think I have been injured due to use of Depo-Provera?

A:  If you or any of your family member experience any symptoms or side effects while using  Depo-Provera method, you must contact first your healthcare provider. Then, meet and discuss with an experienced product liability lawyer about your right to a legal remedy or options for injury sustained due to the use of Depo-Provera method.

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