Forearm bone density in long-term users of oral combined contraceptives and depot medroxyprogesterone acetate

Fertil Steril. 2001 Sep;76(3):469-73. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(01)01936-7.


Objective: To compare the bone mineral density of users of combined oral contraceptives (OC) or depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (depot-MPA) with women who have never used a hormonal contraceptive method.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Academic tertiary-care hospital.

Patient(s): A total of 189 women, aged 30 to 34 years old, were allocated to three groups: 63 who had used OC for at least 2 years; 63 who had used depot-MPA for at least 2 years; and 63 control women who had never used hormonal contraceptives.

Intervention(s): Each woman's bone mineral density (BMD) was evaluated at the distal and ultradistal section of the radius of the nondominant forearm by the use of single x-ray absorptiometry.

Main outcome measure(s): We obtained BMD measurements for each participant.

Result(s): Independent of the period of use and the section of the forearm studied, we found no difference in BMD for OC or depot-MPA users when compared to women who had never used hormonal contraceptive methods. In addition, BMD was similar between OC users and depot-MPA users. The multiple linear regression analysis showed that the variables associated with BMD were weight, number of pregnancies, and the woman's occupation.

Conclusion(s): Women aged 30 to 34 years who have used OC or depot-MPA have similar BMD as control women. These findings suggest that the use of OC or depot-MPA does not affect the BMD of women in this age group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Implants
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / pharmacology*
  • Occupations
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Drug Implants
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate