Depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate, weight gain and amenorrhea among obese adolescent and adult women

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2020 Feb;25(1):54-59. doi: 10.1080/13625187.2019.1709963. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the correlation between obesity and the use of depot medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) with regard to weight gain and changes in bleeding pattern.Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of women receiving 150 mg DMPA via intramuscular injection at inpatient and outpatient clinics at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre between 1 June 2012 and 31 December 2016. Body mass indices (BMI) were assessed at baseline and at the time of final injection. Data on race, medical history, age at first DMPA injection, number and timing of injections, reported side effects, indication for DMPA use and reason for discontinuation, if applicable, were collected.Results: Of the 240 women included in the study, 3.3% were underweight, 30.8% were normal weight, 23.3% were overweight, 15% were class I obese, 9.6% were class II obese and 17.9% were class III obese; 87.9% of the population were African American. Women gained 2.40 kg (95% confidence interval 1.34-3.45) while they were on DMPA (p < .01), which after adjusting for confounding variables was inversely associated with age at initial injection (β coefficient -0.13; p = .02). Amenorrhoea was the most commonly reported change in bleeding pattern.Conclusion: Women who started DMPA at an earlier age gained the most weight over time, independently of initial BMI. Similar rates of amenorrhoea were found among all BMI categories.

Keywords: Birth control; depot medroxyprogesterone acetate; obesity; weight gain.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Amenorrhea / chemically induced*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / adverse effects*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate