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Guide to What to Expect During the First Year of Depo Provera Use

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Updated March 27, 2014

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First Dose – Month’s 1 - 3
Guide to What to Expect During the First Year of Depo Provera Use

Depo Provera Due!

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Online
If you received your first dose during one of the first five days of your period, then Depo Provera will begin to work immediately. With perfect use, Depo Provera is 99.7 percent effective (97 percent with typical use). It becomes even more effective if you switched from another hormonal method and received your first shot within the last seven days of using that method (i.e., combination birth control pills, NuvaRing, the Ortho Evra Patch).

In general, it takes about three months for your body to adjust to Depo Provera. Similar to other hormonal birth control methods, your body needs to get used to the hormone (progestin).

As your body is adjusting to Depo Provera, it is likely that you will experience irregular bleeding (spotting) and/or prolonged bleeding (like a continuous period). This reaction is considered completely normal. If, however, you notice that your bleeding is very heavy or if you are concerned, it is important to contact your health-care provider (See: Depo Bleeding – Will It Ever Stop?).

  • Other side effects that you may experience include: skin reactions, weight gain, and pain (associated with the actual injection).

  • Less common side effects include: change in sex drive, depression, nervousness, dizziness, nausea, change of appetite, headaches, skin rash or spotty darkening of the skin, sore breasts, hair loss and/or increased hair on the face or body.
As your body adjusts to the progestin, these side effects should lessen. For some women, side effects may continue until the injection wears off (11 to 14 weeks).

It is also recommended that you make an appointment for your next scheduled injection during the same doctor’s visit that you receive your first shot.

  • If you are using the original Depo Provera shot, make your appointment for your second injection within 11 to 13 weeks.

  • If you are using the newer Depo-subQ Provera 104, your next shot should be in 12 to 14 weeks.

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