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Side Effects


The following important adverse reactions observed with the use of Depo-Provera CI are discussed in greater detail in the Warnings and Precautions section (5):

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

In the two clinical trials with Depo-Provera CI, over 3,900 women, who were treated for up to 7 years, reported the following adverse reactions, which may or may not be related to the use of Depo-Provera CI. The population studied ranges in age from 15 to 51 years, of which 46% were White, 50% Non-White, and 4.9% Unknown race. The patients received 150 mg Depo-Provera CI every 3-months (90 days). The median study duration was 13 months with a range of 1-84 months. Fifty eight percent of patients remained in the study after 13 months and 34% after 24 months.

Table 1 : Adverse Reactions that Were Reported by More than 5% of Subjects

Body System* Adverse Reactions (Incidence (%))
Body as a Whole Headache (16.5%) Abdominal pain/discomfort (11.2%)
Metabolic/Nutritional Increased weight > 10lbs at 24 months (37.7%)
Nervous Nervousness (10.8%) Dizziness (5.6%) Libido decreased (5.5%)
Urogenital Menstrual irregularities: (bleeding (57.3% at 12 months, 32.1% at 24 months) amenorrhea (55% at 12 months, 68% at 24 months)
* Body System represented from COSTART medical dictionary.

Table 2 :Adverse Reactions that Were Reported by between 1 and 5% of Subjects

Body System* Adverse Reactions (Incidence (%))
Body as a Whole Asthenia/fatigue (4.2%) Backache (2.2%) Dysmenorrhea (1.7%) Hot flashes (1.0%)
Digestive Nausea (3.3%) Bloating (2.3%)
Metabolic/Nutritional Edema (2.2%)
Musculoskeletal Leg cramps (3.7%) Arthralgia (1.0%)
Nervous Depression (1.5%) Insomnia (1.0%)
Skin and Appendages Acne (1.2%) No hair growth/alopecia (1.1%) Rash (1.1%)
Urogenital Leukorrhea (2.9%) Breast pain (2.8%) Vaginitis (1.2%)
* Body System represented from COSTART medical dictionary.

Adverse reactions leading to study discontinuation in2% of subjects: bleeding (8.2%), amenorrhea (2.1%), weight gain (2.0%)

Post-marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of Depo-Provera CI. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

There have been cases of osteoporosis including osteoporotic fractures reported post-marketing in patients taking Depo-Provera CI.

Table 3 : Adverse Reactions Reported during Post-Marketing Experience

Body System* Adverse Reactions
Body as a Whole Chest pain, Allergic reactions including angioedema, Fever, Pain at injection site, Chills, Axillary swelling
Cardiovascular Syncope, Tachycardia, Thrombophlebitis, Deep vein thrombosis, Pulmonary embolus, Varicose veins
Digestive Changes in appetite, Gastrointestinal disturbances, Jaundice, Excessive thirst, Rectal bleeding
Hematologic and Lymphatic Anemia, Blood dyscrasia
Musculoskeletal Osteoporosis
Nervous Paralysis, Facial palsy, Paresthesia, Drowsiness
Respiratory Dyspnea and asthma, Hoarseness
Skin and Appendages Hirsutism, Excessive sweating and body odor, Dry skin, Scleroderma
Urogenital Cervical cancer, Breast cancer, Lack of return to fertility, Unexpected pregnancy, Prevention of lactation, Changes in breast size, Breast lumps or nipple bleeding, Galactorrhea, Melasma, Chloasma, Increased libido, Uterine hyperplasia, Genitourinary infections, Vaginal cysts, Dyspareunia
* Body System represented from COSTART medical dictionary.

Read the Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Changes In Contraceptive Effectiveness Associated With Co-Administration Of Other Products

If a woman on hormonal contraceptives takes a drug or herbal product that induces enzymes, including CYP3A4, that metabolize contraceptive hormones, counsel her to use additional contraception or a different method of contraception. Drugs or herbal products that induce such enzymes may decrease the plasma concentrations of contraceptive hormones, and may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. Some drugs or herbal products that may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives include:

  • barbiturates
  • bosentan
  • carbamazepine
  • felbamate
  • griseofulvin
  • oxcarbazepine
  • phenytoin
  • rifampin
  • St. John's wort
  • topiramate
HIV Protease Inhibitors And Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors

Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma levels of progestin have been noted in some cases of co-administration of HIV protease inhibitors. Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma levels of the progestin have been noted in some cases of co-administration with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.


There have been reports of pregnancy while taking hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics, but clinical pharmacokinetic studies have not shown consistent effects of antibiotics on plasma concentrations of synthetic steroids.

Consult the labeling of all concurrently-used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.

Laboratory Test Interactions

The pathologist should be advised of progestin therapy when relevant specimens are submitted.

The following laboratory tests may be affected by progestins including Depo-Provera CI:

  1. Plasma and urinary steroid levels are decreased (e.g., progesterone, estradiol, pregnanediol, testosterone, cortisol).
  2. Gonadotropin levels are decreased.
  3. Sex-hormone-binding-globulin concentrations are decreased.
  4. Protein-bound iodine and butanol extractable protein-bound iodine may increase. T3-uptake values may decrease.
  5. Coagulation test values for prothrombin (Factor II), and Factors VII, VIII, IX, and X may increase.
  6. Sulfobromophthalein and other liver function test values may be increased.
  7. The effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate on lipid metabolism are inconsistent. Both increases and decreases in total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol have been observed in studies.

Read the Depo-Provera Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

Last reviewed on RxList: 2/11/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Side Effects

Depo Provera - User Reviews

Depo Provera User Reviews

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