Weight variation in users of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system and a copper intrauterine device for up to ten years of use

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2015 Feb;20(1):57-63. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2014.951433. Epub 2014 Aug 27.


Background and objective: Data on record regarding weight variation in depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) users are controversial. To date, no studies have yet evaluated weight variation in DMPA and LNG-IUS users in up to ten years of use compared to non-hormonal contraceptive users.

Materials and methods: A retrospective study analysed weight variations in 2138 women using uninterruptedly DMPA (150 mg intramuscularly, three-monthly; n = 714), the LNG-IUS (n = 701) or a copper-intrauterine device (Cu-IUD; n = 723).

Results: At the end of the first year of use, there was a mean weight increase of 1.3 kg, 0.7 kg and 0.2 kg among the DMPA-, LNG-IUS- and Cu-IUD users, respectively, compared to weight at baseline (p < 0.0001). After ten years of use, the mean weight had risen by 6.6 kg, 4.0 and 4.9 kg among the DMPA-, LNG-IUS- and Cu-IUD users, respectively. DMPA-users had gained more weight than LNG-IUS- (p = 0.0197) and than Cu-IUD users (p = 0.0294), with the latter two groups not differing significantly from each other in this respect (p = 0.5532).

Conclusion: Users of hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive methods gained a significant amount of weight over the years. DMPA users gained more weight over the treatment period of up to ten years than women fitted with either a LNG-IUS or a Cu-IUD.

Keywords: Copper IUD; Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate; Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system; Weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices, Copper / adverse effects*
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated / adverse effects*
  • Levonorgestrel / adverse effects*
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Levonorgestrel
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate