What is DMPA?

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What is DMPA?

‘DMPA’ is short for depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, and it refers to a contraceptive that can be used by means of injection.  The basic action of this particular substance is to block the ovulation process.  DMPA is the active substance in various contraceptive drugs including brands like Depo-Provera and Depo-Ralovera.

DMPA is considered one of the most effective contraceptives available on the market today.  Women who undergo DMPA injections are protected up to 99% of the time from becoming pregnant.  With this level of efficiency, many women who undergo birth control prefer DMPA injections over other contraceptive methods like taking birth control pills.  Administration or injection of depot medroxyprogesterone is done every 12 weeks.  This simply means that DMPA remains effective for about three months.  Overall, the substance’s efficiency and dosage requirements make it more convenient for women because they simply don’t have to think about getting the injection on a daily basis.  This is a great contrast to taking pills which require remembering to take them every single day.  Instead, DMPA shots are administered every three months only making it a convenient choice for many women.  DMPA injections are also commonly administered intra-muscularly particularly in the buttocks or upper arms.

For women who don’t have existing illnesses or sensitivities to hormone-based substances, DMPA won’t cause any concerns for their health.  Caution is advised, though, for those with bleeding problems, heart disease, and liver disease.  Those taking DMPA injections are also commonly advised to have regular checkups with their doctors to ensure safety and to possibly manage some side effects.  As with many other drugs, DMPA may cause some side effects including: changes in the bleeding pattern, headaches, mood changes, and possible weight gain.  Weaning from the substance may also take some time, sometimes up to several months after the last injection.  During this time, bleeding patterns may also adjust to normal as the body copes with the hormonal changes associated with DMPA injections.

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