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Depo Provera

The Birth Control Shot


Updated July 02, 2014

Depo Provera

Depo Shot

Photo Reprinted With Permission from E. Scott

How to Obtain:

In order to receive a Depo Provera shot, a woman has to have a physical evaluation and should review her complete health history with her health-care provider. Pfizer recommends that all women seeking Depo Provera have a physical examination that includes a blood pressure check, examination of the breasts, abdomen, and pelvic organs, pap smear, and any relevant laboratory studies. A woman should receive her first shot during the first five days of her period to ensure that she is not pregnant or have a pregnancy test preformed before getting the injection.

It is important to discuss the following information with your health-care provider if you are planning to begin Depo Provera use:

  • The potential for irregular or prolonged bleeding while using Depo Provera as research has indicated that women are more likely to continue with this method if they are counseled about the bleeding effects before they receive their first injection.

  • The importance to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including adequate calcium intake, weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, smoking cessation, and moderate to no alcohol intake.

Costs Associated with Depo Provera:

Prices vary, but the typical cost for each injection can range between $30 to $75 (plus the expense of having a medical exam in order to obtain this contraceptive). The total cost for a full year of use may vary from $200 to $600, depending if additional office visits are required. You may also incur added costs if you are more than two weeks late for your next scheduled shot as your doctor may require a pregnancy test before your next injection.

In many communities, Medicaid covers the cost for this contraceptive method. A woman should check with her private health insurance policy as coverage for birth control varies.


Depo Provera is 97% to 99.7% effective. This means that with perfect use, less than 1 out of every 100 women who use Depo Provera will become pregnant in one year. With typical use, 3 out of every 100 women who use Depo Provera will become pregnant.

Additional Considerations:

If you get your first shot within the first 5 days of your period, Depo Provera provides immediate pregnancy protection, so no back-up method is required. If you obtain your first shot during any other time in your cycle, a back-up method, like condoms, is suggested for 7 days.

Make a plan to schedule your shots. If you miss a shot or if more than 14 weeks go by, then be sure to use a backup method of birth control.

You can switch from Depo Provera to Depo-subQ Provera 104 at your next scheduled injection time and will have immediate protection. When switching to Depo Provera from other hormonal methods, the first shot should be given within 7 days after the last day of using your previous method. If switching from combination birth control pills, you should have your first shot within 7 days after taking the last active pill; you should receive your first Depo shot within 7 days of removing the Ortho Evra Patch or NuvaRing.

STD Protection:

Depo Provera offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.


Jain, J. (2005). “Contraception: Subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate for birth control and endometriosis pain”. OBG Management, Vol. 17, No 8.Accessed via private subscription.

Pfizer. (2005). “Depo-SubQ Provera 104” and (2004). “Depo Provera: Contraceptive Injection”.

Sullivan, M. (2005). “New Treatment Approved for Endometriosis Pain”. OB/GYN News.

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