Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. Patterns of use and reasons for discontinuation

Contraception. 1997 Oct;56(4):209-14. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(97)00140-6.


Little information is available from outside clinic settings about the acceptability of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA, Depo-Provera) as an injectable contraceptive. In this national, population-based study, New Zealand women aged 25 to 54 years were selected at random from voter rolls. The 1864 subjects were interviewed by telephone after an initial approach by letter. More than 1 in 8 women (13.7%) had used DMPA at some time. The proportion was higher among Maori women and among those of lower income and education, but DMPA had been used by a substantial proportion of all socioeconomic groups. A quarter of all users reported receiving only a single injection of DMPA, and only 53% had used this method for a total of 12 months or more. Only 5 (1.6%) of discontinuations were attributed to contraceptive failure; this corresponds to a contraceptive failure rate of 0.9 per 100 woman-years. Side effects were given as the most common reasons for stopping, with menstrual disturbances and weight gain being cited most often. Other reasons for stopping included no further need for contraception or doubts about the appropriateness of DMPA. In this developed country population, DMPA is widely used for short periods but its acceptability is limited by the occurrence of side effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / adverse effects
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / therapeutic use*
  • Menstruation / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Patient Dropouts*
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate