Is Depo Provera 100% effective, or should you use extra protection to prevent unwanted pregnancy? How can you maximize its efficacy rate? What are some of the factors that decrease the efficacy of the birth control shot? If you are wondering about these questions, you are in the right spot. This article features all the must-know facts about this popular birth control method, including the Depo Provera dosage, possible side effects, and more. 

Educate yourself on Depo Provera and find out whether this is the right contraceptive option for you. That said, for expert help, advice, and diagnosis, make sure to reach out to trained professionals in your area. If you are looking for the best, consult with Gynecology Care in Palm Beach, FL.

With that in mind, here are the top facts about the birth control shot.

What Is Depo Provera?

Doctor Hand Holding Draw Syringe and Medicine Bottle on White Background

Depo Provera is one of the most popular birth control methods that involve getting a shot. Sometimes, it is also referred to as the birth control shot or the contraceptive injection. And what does it consist of?

Medroxyprogesterone acetate is known under the brand name Provera. It involves medroxyprogesterone, an artificial hormone similar to the progesterone hormone our body naturally makes. A healthcare professional administers the shot into the buttock or the arm. If you receive the shot at your doctor’s office, the professional will inject it under the skin or deep into the muscle. After the initial injection, experts recommend using another form of birth control, such as a condom, for one week or seven days. For it to be effective, you need to get a new shot every 12 weeks.

Medroxyprogesterone acetate can also be taken orally (as instructed by your doctor). Always follow the dosing schedule, and ask your healthcare provider for help if in doubt. The proper dosage will be based on your response to therapy and your medical condition. 

Medroxyprogesterone acetate has a few uses; for instance, women who are not in menopause and who are not pregnant can use it to treat severe bleeding from the uterus. Moreover, it can also be beneficial for women who need to restore their normal menstruations after not having them for several months. On top of that, medroxyprogesterone acetate can also be added to standard estrogen replacement therapy to minimize the risk of uterus cancer. 

However, we are referring to the birth control method in this case. Keep reading to find out more about its proper usage. Make sure to contact Comprehensive OBGYN of the Palm Beaches for more information.

Depo Provera at Home

Patients can also opt for the self-administered birth control shot that they can inject from the comfort of their homes. According to professionals, this version of the shot is called Depo-sub Q Provera 104. It is subcutaneous, so it does not go deep into the muscle. Instead, you inject it into the skin. It features a prefilled syringe that you use once. The needle is smaller than the one professionals use, making it less uncomfortable. The progestin dose is less than 400 milligrams, lower than the one used in the doctor’s office. Patients need to inject the shot into the belly or the thigh every 12 weeks for the at-home Depo Provera to work.

When in doubt, ask your healthcare professional how to administer the shot correctly. Of course, the doctor will explain how to inject the shot yourself and how to discard sharp tools when you are done safely. Always make sure to follow the expert’s guidance. Generally, the self-administered Depo Provera is safe and effective. In rare cases, patients may witness a reaction at the shot’s site. If this happens to you, consult with your healthcare professional.

Some patients may also notice rare Depo Provera side effects. For instance, you may have a dimple, dent, or lump at the reaction site. Also, bruising, itchiness, blistering, and redness may occur. Talk to your doctor if you are not feeling well or notice any of the mentioned symptoms. A professional will help put your mind at ease and guide you to proper Depo Provera usage at home.

How Effective Is the Birth Control Shot?

When you stick to the proper Depo Provera dosage and remember to take a new dose every 12 weeks, both the at-home and original versions of the shot are 99% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy. However, in some cases, patients do not adhere to these rules. If you do not take the right Depo Provera dosage (as instructed by a professional), the efficacy may drop to about 94%. This means that for every 100 females who receive the injection, around six will become pregnant. Here are some other popular contraceptive methods and how they compare to the birth control shot:

  • Spermicide 79% effective
  • Diaphragm 83% effective
  • Birth control patch 93% effective
  • Birth control pill 93% effective
  • Copper IUD 99.2% effective
  • Levonorgestrel intrauterine device around 99.9% effective
  • Hormone implant 99.9% effective

Always make sure to talk to a professional about your options. You may receive the accurate Depo Provera dosage and other helpful tips to maximize the efficacy of your contraceptive method.

How Long Does the Birth Control Shot Work?

The birth control shot prevents unwanted pregnancy immediately if you receive it within the initial five days of the menstrual cycle.

Depo Provera Side Effects

Like other contraceptive methods, Depo Provera may have some adverse effects. Make sure to discuss them with your doctor in detail. Here are some side effects associated with the shot:

  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Uneven periods or not menstruating at all
  • Nervousness
  • Changes in appetite levels
  • Hair loss
  • Unwanted body and facial hair
  • Loss of bone mineral density
  • Weight gain
  • Belly pain
  • Fatigue
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Low libido
  • Feeling weak
  • Allergic reaction (in rare cases)

The most common adverse effect includes changes to the menstrual cycle. After using the shot for a year, around half of the patients will stop menstruating. If you are experiencing a loss of your period, don’t worry. You should get it back when you stop receiving injections.

When used long-term, the shot can cause bone mineral density loss and put you at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Women who have taken the injection for over two years, drink a lot, and smoke frequently are at an even higher risk of this condition. 


Woman Visiting Her Obstetrician Doctor in Maternity Clinic

Who Is Not an Eligible Candidate for Depo Provera?

The shot is not suitable for everyone. Talk to your doctor and find out if the shot is the right choice for you. You should not get injections if you have the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer

Moreover, teenagers and people with the following conditions need to be cautious when using this birth control method:

  • History of stroke or heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • History of depression
  • Osteoporosis or being at higher risk of having osteoporosis

What Are the Disadvantages of the Shot?

Some individuals may find regular doctor visits annoying. Moreover, the shot does not protect you against STDs or sexually transmitted diseases. For complete protection, we recommend using a condom.

Is the Shot Expensive?

Depending on the patient’s insurance, the shots can be free or cost $150 per injection. 

Give Us a Call Today

Reach out to us today and get started with your healing journey. Book an appointment and contact Comprehensive OBGYN of the Palm Beaches for further instructions.