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Monthly Contraceptive Injection (Combined Contraceptive Injection)

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Updated June 11, 2014

Monthly Contraceptive Injection (Combined Contraceptive Injection)

Combined Contraceptive Injections

Photo Courtesy of P. Cosio
Definition: Combined contraceptive injections contain a combination of estrogen and progestin and must be injected once a month. Like Depo-Provera, combined contraception injections are a type of hormonal birth control shot. Similar to combination birth control pills, these injections combine synthetic estrogen and progestin. The hormones are injected into the muscle of the upper arm, thigh, or buttocks. After each shot, the hormone levels peak and gradually decrease until the next injection. This method of birth control must be administered every 28 to 30 days (and must not exceed 33 days following the date of the previous injection). When the prescribed dosing schedule is followed, combined contraceptive injections are considered to have a failure rate of less than 1% each year.

The hormones prevent pregnancy for one month mainly by:

  • Preventing ovulation
  • Thickening cervical mucus (which makes it harder for sperm to swim through)
  • Thinning the lining of the uterus, making it less receptive to the implantation.

Lunelle is a monthly injection made up of estradiol cypionate and medroxyprogesterone. It became available in the United States in 2000, but its prefilled syringes were voluntarily recalled in 2002 due to a lack of assurance of full potency and possible risk of contraceptive failure. In October 2003, Pfizer discontinued manufacturing Lunelle, so it is no longer available in the US.

Cyclofem and Mesigyna in Other Countries

A similar shot is now sold under the name Cyclofem and is available in 18 countries (mostly in Latin America and Asia).

Mesigyna is another type of combined injection made up of estradiol valerate and norethisterone enantate. It is equally effective as Cyclofem and is also not available in the U.S. Today, it is found in 36 countries, primarily in Latin America and Asia.

Also Known As:

Lunelle also marketed under: Cyclofem, Cyclofemina, Feminena, Novafem, Lunella, and Cyclo-Provera

Mesigyna also marketed under: Norigynon, Mesigyna Instayect, Mesygest, and No 3 injectable Norigynon

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