Information on Progestogen-only injectable Contraceptives(Depo-provera)

Progestogen-only injectable

It is a synthetic hormone (progestogen). It prevents pregnancy by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries, thickening the cervical mucus and creating a hostile endometrium environment for fertilisation.

  • Regular Injection
  • The injection should be given every 13 weeks.
  • If you cannot attend as scheduled, please return to the Maternal and Child Health Centre within 7 days before the due date. Please do not delay your injection.


  • It is a highly effective method. The pregnancy rate is less than 1% per year.
  • It is convenient for those who do not wish to take a pill daily or use a condom every time when having sex.
  • It is suitable for breastfeeding mothers since it does not affect the volume & quality of breastmilk and the health of the children.
  • It does not contain oestrogen and is suitable for women who cannot use contraceptive methods containing oestrogen.

Side Effects

  • Headaches, dizziness, breast tenderness and mood change are the most common side effects at the initial period of use and usually subside within the first few months.
  • Women tend to gain weight with Progestogen-only injectable. Women gain an average of 2.5kg (5.4lb) in the first year and weight gain mainly occur in the first year.
  • Majority of the women would have irregular menses, diminished menstrual flow or amenorrhoea which is related to the hormonal effect of the progestogen and so there is no need to worry. If you have persistent heavy or prolonged menstruation or any sign and symptoms of pregnancy after the injection, please return to the MCHC for assessment.
  • Generally, it takes 6 to 9 months to resume normal ovulation following discontinuation of the Progestogen-only injectable. Therefore, it takes some time for return of fertility after stopping the injection.
  • Please seek medical assessment as soon as possible if you have the following symptoms such as generalised rash, fainting, headaches, weakness or tingling/numbing sensation affecting one side or one part of the body, jaundice, abdominal pain, calf pain or chest pain, and tell your doctor you are using the Progestogen-only injectable.

Effect on Bone Mineral Density

Overseas studies showed that the use of Progestogen-only injectable for more than two years is associated with a small reduction in bone mineral density. After discontinuation, the boneĀ  mineral density recovers in women aged 18 to 45. There is no evidence that the use of Progestogen-only injectable increases the risk of bone fractures.

For more information, please refer to "Osteoporosis in women" and "Meeting your calcium needs" leaflet published by our service.

Use more than two years

If you have used Progestogen-only injectable for more than two years, our medical or nursing staff will assess your health condition (such as whether you have heart disease, stroke, thromboembolic disease, hypertension, migraine, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, liver disease, cancers, osteoporosis, or diseases that require long term medication and regular follow-up) before advising whether you are suitable to continue using the Progestogen-only injectable.

(Content revised 05/2019)