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Contraception. 1995 Oct;52(4):215-9.

A comparative study of one-year weight gain among users of medroxyprogesterone acetate, levonorgestrel implants, and oral contraceptives.

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Payless Drug, Denver, CO, USA.


With the recent introduction and growing popularity of Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection, concern about the potential for weight gain during treatment has been raised. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether or not Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection is associated with greater weight gain, and incidence thereof, than Norplant implants or oral contraceptives. A retrospective chart review of patients seen at a state- and federally-funded clinic was conducted. Fifty women in each treatment group who met the study criteria were identified and included in the study evaluation. Mean one-year weight gain for subjects in each group was as follows: -2.0 pounds in the oral contraceptive group, -1.8 pounds in the Norplant implants group, and +0.1 pounds in the Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection group. While results among treatment groups differed slightly, no significant weight change occurred in any of the treatment groups.


A retrospective analysis of charts of patients attending the Casa Grande Valley Center for Women in Casa Grande, Arizona, was conducted to compare weight gain over a 12 month period of users of Depo-Provera injectables containing medroxyprogesterone acetate with that of users of Norplant implants containing levonorgestrel and with that of oral contraceptive (OC) users. At the beginning of therapy, Depo-Provera users weighed less than users of Norplant and of OCs (61.7 vs. 65.1 and 64.5 kg, respectively; p 0.05). OC users tended to be older and have fewer children than the other groups (24 vs. 20.85 years and 1.5 vs. 2.2 children, respectively; p 0.05). After 12 months of treatment, Depo-Provera users experienced more weight gain than did the other groups (+0.06 vs. -0.93 for OC users and -0.81 for Norplant users; p = 0.045). Yet, the positive weight gain for Depo-Provera users as well as the weight loss for the other users were not statistically different from zero. Limitations of the study included no prospective design, nonrandomized subjects, nonblinded researchers, and lack of data on contraceptive discontinuations. Even though the findings suggest that Depo-Provera users are unlikely to gain weight, a larger, randomized, prospective study aiming to compare changes in weight with these contraceptives as well as nonhormonal contraceptive methods and to compare discontinuation rates due to side effects of each method is needed.

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