Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Nurse Midwifery. 1997 Mar-Apr;42(2):104-11.

Depot medroxyprogesterone. Management of side-effects commonly associated with its contraceptive use.

Author information

  • 1Planned Parenthood of San Diego, California, USA.


Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate is one of the most popular, effective methods of contraception used in the United States. Many women experience unpleasant side effects from this method, including episodic vaginal bleeding, hair loss, depression, and weight gain. This Clinical Practice Exchange describes the treatment strategies for these side-effects used by nurse-midwives from a variety of settings and locales. Contraceptive use can be more acceptable for many women if they are better able to cope with unpleasant side effects of the method. This Clinical Practice Exchange provides knowledge to enhance client coping.


In this clinical practice exchange, nurse-midwives in a variety of settings and US regions describe their treatment strategies for addressing the side effects associated with depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). Although DMPA is a safe, effective, long-acting method of hormonal contraception, this injectable has been linked with side effects such as weight gain, menstrual changes, headache, dizziness, acne, abdominal bloating, breast swelling, depression, reduced libido, and alopecia. Approximately one-third of DMPA acceptors discontinue use by the end of the first year and half discontinue by the end of the second year, primarily because of these side effects. Nurse-midwives report that adolescents who are unable to take the pill consistently and breast-feeding women are ideal candidates for DMPA use. Constant vaginal bleeding, the most troublesome side effect, can be treated through use of ibuprofen, oral estrogen, or oral DMPA. Potential or actual weight gain can be averted through life-style changes such as reduced dietary fats and increased exercise. Unanticipated pregnancies can be avoided by administering the initial DMPA injection within 5 days after the onset of menses. Pre-acceptance anticipatory counseling, along with regular support and encouragement, increase user satisfaction with DMPA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk