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The Truth About Depo-Provera: Exploring the Risks and Options

A recent viral TikTok video online influencer Morgan Roos has sparked concern among users of the injectable contraceptive, Depo-Provera. In the video, Roos revealed her shock after discovering that the contraceptive she had been using for a decade was only recommended for a maximum of two years. While this revelation may be unsettling, it is essential to understand the context and consider the potential risks associated with long-term Depo-Provera use.

Depo-Provera is a progestogen-only injectable contraceptive, providing a convenient alternative to daily pill consumption as it requires administration every 13 weeks. Boasting an impressive 99.8% efficacy rate, it effectively prevents pregnancy suppressing ovulation and creating an inhospitable environment for sperm. However, it is crucial to note that Depo-Provera serves purposes beyond contraception. It is also utilized to alleviate heavy periods and reduce the pain caused endometriosis.

Roos’s revelation prompts the question: why would a doctor recommend discontinuing Depo-Provera after two years? Several potential reasons exist. One significant factor centers around the reduction in bone mineral density linked to long-term Depo-Provera use. While most bone loss is reversible upon discontinuation, some may persist. Consequently, the age of the individual can impact their susceptibility to this risk. Adolescents under 18, whose bones are still developing, are advised to explore alternative contraceptive options due to their heightened vulnerability. Similarly, individuals over 50 are encouraged to seek alternative methods.

Furthermore, delayed fertility restoration is another potential concern. Upon stopping Depo-Provera, it may take up to a year for fertility to return fully. Additionally, users have reported weight gain, acne, mood changes, and decreased sex drive as potential side effects.

Regulatory agencies and healthcare bodies across countries offer specific guidelines regarding Depo-Provera’s long-term use. While the US Food and Drug Administration and Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer, suggest limiting usage to two years unless other contraceptives are deemed inadequate, the UK Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health provides slightly different advice. In the UK, they recommend reviewing Depo-Provera usage every two years to evaluate the benefits and risks for individual patients.

To ensure the appropriateness of Depo-Provera for each individual, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional regularly. Routine reviews every two years can help determine if the contraceptive remains suitable. For those still considering Depo-Provera, strategies such as calcium and vitamin D supplementation, along with regular weight-bearing exercises, can minimize the risks associated with reduced bone mineral density.

It is crucial to remember that alternative contraceptive methods, such as oral birth control pills, vaginal rings, barrier methods (like condoms), and intrauterine devices, are available for those who find Depo-Provera unsuitable. It is worth noting that barrier methods also protect against sexually transmitted diseases.


Q: Is Depo-Provera safe for long-term use?
A: While Depo-Provera is generally safe and effective, long-term use may pose certain risks, including reduced bone mineral density and delayed fertility restoration.

Q: Why does Depo-Provera need to be reviewed every two years?
A: Regular reviews are crucial to assess the ongoing benefits and risks of using Depo-Provera on an individual basis.

Q: What are some alternative contraceptive methods?
A: Alternative methods include oral birth control pills, vaginal rings, barrier methods (such as condoms), and intrauterine devices. Barrier methods also provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases.