Habit forming? No
Prescription needed? Yes
Available as generic? Yes, for some
Drug class: Female sex hormone (progestin)

Treatment for menstrual or uterine disorders.

- Contraceptive (used alone or with estrogen).

- May be used for emergency contraception.

- Treatment for symptoms of menopause.

- Treatment for several types of cancer.

- Treatment for female hormone imbalance.

- Megestrol is used for treatment of weight loss in AIDS and cancer patients.

- Treatment for female infertility caused by progesterone deficiency.

- Treatment for endometrial hyperplasia.

How to take Depo-Provera:

- Capsule: Swallow with liquid. Do not crush, chew or break capsule.

- Tablet: Swallow Depo-Provera with liquid or food to lessen stomach irritation. You may crumble tablet.

- Injection: Given by medical provider. 

- Transdermal Depo-Provera patch: Follow label instructions.

- Depo-Provera Implant: Inserted by a health care provider.

- Oral suspension: Follow label instructions.

When to take Depo-Provera:

- Daily dose at the same time each day. For other forms follow instructions on label.

If you forget a Depo-Provera dose:

- Treatment for menstrual disorders: Take up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next dose (don't double this dose).

- Contraceptive: Consult your doctor or label instructions. You may need to use another birth control method until your next period.

What the Depo-Provera Drug Does:

- Progesterone is a female hormone produced in the body.  Progestins are synthetic hormones that have progesterone-like actions. They can have multiple effects on the female reproductive system.

- The mechanism that produces weight gain or helps in cancer treatment is unknown.

Time lapse before drug works:

- Menstrual disorders: 24 to 48 hours. 

- Contraception: 3 weeks.

- Cancer: May require 2 to 3 months regular use for maximum benefit.

Don't take with:

- Any other medicine or any dietary supplement without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

Depo-Provera OVERDOSE
SYMPTOMS: Nausea, vomiting, fluid retention, breast discomfort or enlargement, vaginal bleeding.


Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).

Common Depo-Provera Side Effects:

Vaginal bleeding changes (heavy, irregular, spotting, stopped). Abdominal cramping, bloating, swollen feet or ankles, tiredness or weakness, mild headache, nausea, mood changes, skin irritation with injection, skin pain with implant.

Infrequent Depo-Provera Side Effects:

Depression, acne, tender breasts, changes in facial or body hair, brown spots on skin, loss of sexual desire, insomnia.

Rare Depo-Provera Side Effects:  

Rash, changes in breast milk. Blood clot with high doses for non contraceptive use (sudden headache, pain in calf vision changes, breathing or speech problems).

Don't take if:
- You are allergic to any progestin hormone.

Before you start, consult your doctor If:

- You have diabetes, heart or kidney disease.

- You have liver or gallbladder disease.

- You have had thrombophlebitis, embolism or stroke, bleeding disorder or high cholesterol.

- You have unexplained vaginal bleeding.

- You have had breast or uterine cancer.

- You have varicose veins.

- You have a seizure disorder.

- You suffer from migraines or depression.

- You have breast disease (lumps, cysts).

Over age 60:

- No special problems expected.


- Risk factors for drugs vary.


- Drug passes into milk in small amounts.

- The low progestin dose used for contraception has not caused problems.

- Consult doctor for advice about breast-feeding.

Infants & children:

- Use only for female children under medical supervision.

Prolonged Depo-Provera use:

- No problems expected.

Skin & sunlight:

- No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:

- No problems expected.


- Consult doctor. This medicine stays in the body and may cause fetal abnormalities.

- Wait at least 3 months before becoming pregnant.

- Side effects may also occur (dizziness, nausea, unusual menstrual bleeding).


- For postmenopausal women, the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which combines estrogen and progestin increases slightly the risk for breast cancer, heart attacks and stroke.

- HRT does not prevent heart disease.

- HRT is effective for menopause symptoms (used short term), and helps protect against osteoporosis and colon cancer.

- Other treatments are available for osteoporosis.

- Discuss with your doctor if HRT is the right treatment for you.

- Injection form (Depo-Provera) may result in the loss of bone density. The risk increases, the longer the drug is used. The bone loss may not be reversible.

- Patients with diabetes must be monitored closely.

- Consult doctor if changes in blood glucose levels occur.

- May affect results in some medical tests.

- Advise any doctor or dentist whom you consult that you take this medicine.

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