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Int J Fertil Womens Med. 1999 Mar-Apr;44(2):110-7.

Long-acting hormonal contraception: assessing impact on bone density, weight, and mood.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville, USA.


The decline in unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States has been attributed largely to increased use of two highly effective, hormonal contraceptive methods, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate injection (DMPA) and levonorgestrel implants (Norplant). Despite the efficacy and increasing acceptability of these long-term methods, some clinicians and women are reluctant to use them because of concerns regarding reduction in bone density with DMPA, and depressive symptoms and body weight issues with both injectables and implants. Recent multicenter experience showed no increase in depressive symptoms after 1 year's DMPA use and 2 years' Norplant use, even among users with the highest mean depressive symptom scores pre-therapy. Observational studies indicate that, as with other hormonal contraceptives and hormone replacement, DMPA does not cause significant weight gain, even during long-term use. Multicenter experience with the new soft-tubing Norplant product found an average annual pregnancy rate of <1% and a cumulative 5-year pregnancy rate of 4.2% in women weighing 70 kg or more--substantially lower than failure rates cited in the product labeling. Trends in bone density seen with DMPA appear similar to those during lactation. Subgroups of long-term DMPA users may experience a decrease in spinal bone density that appears to be reversible following discontinuation. A once-a-month injectable contraceptive combining 25 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate and 5 mg estradiol cypionate (Cyclo-Provera, Cyclofem or Lunelle), a 2-rod levonorgestrel system, and a single-rod 3-ketodesogestrel implant system may become available in the United States. Large-scale trials have established the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of Cyclo-Provera. In contrast to DMPA, users of Cyclo-Provera experience predictable, regular monthly bleeding, fewer discontinue due to bleeding-related problems. Fertility returns rapidly following discontinuation. A U.S. multicenter study is currently nearing completion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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