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Depo-Provera side affects

I was given a shot of depo-provera yesterday...and when I asked about side affects all I was told was nausea, headache, and dizziness.  After reading quite a few articles online, it seems there are a lot more serious side affects than I was led to believe.  I've been having lots of chest pain and shortness of breath, but the doctor doesn't seem to think it's related to the shot.  I need advice on what some of the most common side affects are, and if there is possibly any way to get this medication out of my system as quickly as possible.  I am concerned about weight gain as well, and was wondering how soon it became noticeable, and if there was a significant amount in the first three months.
54 Responses
Avatar universal
i was on depo for 7 yrs. here's what my side effects were and still are 18 mos after my last shot.

no periods

gained 70 lbs in 5 yrs...was 106 when first started it finally back to 125

lost sex drive

vaginal dryness

developed psyciatric mood disorder...now undiagnosed and med free since off depo



loss of concentration, interest in life in general


2 miscarriages on depo..a set of twins @ 13 weeks and single @ 9 weeks


no period for 9 mos

then period with heavy bleed every 2 weeks for 6 mos

infertile for 18 mos

2 confirmed miscarriages at 5 weeks

progesterone defficient

luteal phase defect that untreated leads to miscarriage

so there is what the future holds on depo. once you have taken the shot it takes 12-18 mos to leave your body when you stop. there is no reversal to it!!! you will have to wait and see what happens and the chest pain and shortness of breath is a common side effect and i recommend if it gets worse go to the ER. DON"T GET ANOTHER SHOT...you will regret it later down the road. good luck and i hope everything turns out good.

Avatar universal
I did 1 round of depo and was very moody this was in aug of 1997.  decided this was not for me .. I got very bloated gained weight.  Then instead of going on the shot again decided on the pill.  However I bled for 1 month stratight (while taking the pill) then like a turning off a light switch it was gone. for 7 months.  the drs. had to give me Provera to induce my periods.  Then we got married and decided to get pregnant.  I took 4 years of infertility drugs and IUIS to have our DS. So i am not too sure if the depo gave me luteal phase defect (that is why i could not conceive) but I sure am not going back on it.  I hope you feel better.

I might add thoguh my sister in law.. took it for years got off when they wanted to start trying and got pregnant the following month. Is back on it now and has not had a single problem.  No weight gain or anything.  She is weird though... but she has ALWAYS been weird so I know that is not the Depos fault :-)

God Bless and take care keep us posted
Avatar universal
the only side effect i had was the weight gain. i was on it for 4 years. i didnt start ttc for 1 year after i stopped it, and got pg right away, so i dont know if i would have had any troubles if i started trying earlier.was this a spur of the moment thing,or what, didnt you do any research on it at all? you will just have to ride it out, and maybe start the pill in 3 months.
Avatar universal
ok- don't get scared by kimmie's post. not everyone has serious long lasting side effects from it but some women swear they do. i know i had serious trouble conceiving after I went off of it but other than that I had no side effects. I have a friend who got preg when she missed the shot by a week... here is a website I found that has some pretty good information about depo on it so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to continue with it.


don't get mad at me kimmie- you know I love yah! :)
Avatar universal
well i was on depo for 9 months and that is 3 shots and from my expirence i had some side affects. depression weight gain of 105 pounds (i was 145pounds when started the shots, still over 200 pounds, but loosing slowly)i had panic attacks (high anxiety) and had to be medicated. i started the shot in nov. of 98 two weeks after my son was born and i bled from nov 3rd 98 untill my second shot in in feb of 99 and it was heavy, cloty nasty. i stopped the shot after my 3rd in may and only bled for one day (spotting) i went on the pill in sept. so not to get pg, then we decided to have another child and i conncieved in october of 2000. so im not sure if i had  sterile problems after the shot because like i said i took the pill for a while. today i  have verly slight anxiety problems (no meds needed) no depression and my weight is pver 200 pounds but i am dieting since yesterday ( to get healthy.. im at high risk for diabetes.) so this is my story i hope it does not scare you , just wait out the shot and my advice dDO NOT GET ANOTHER ONE there has to be something else out on the market tht you can take to help protect you. take care and god bless. Stacie in Maine
Avatar universal
I heard they are showing in some cases that depo is causing bone loss if used for more then a year.  Also the patch may be causing serious clots in young women.  I use the nuva ring & wouldnt change it for anything!
Avatar universal
Hi andreaR -

I was 26 went I went on Depo and I just turned 38.  If you search 'depo' in this forum, you'll see my list of side effects. My period stopped almost immediately after I started depo and I certainly didn't miss it. ;) BUT, it has vastly altered many aspects of my health and if you were a friend or relative, I would STRONGLY suggest that you NOT take the chance that it does to you what it has done to me and to so many other women, many of whom have experienced side effects after the very first shot.  

My husband is the greatest person in the world and he loves me with all of his heart, but when I'm having a bad depo depression day or mood, there is nothing that he can do right, I start to not trust him, and if the poor guy tries to press me for what is wrong (which, there isn't anything in particular, it's like a black cloud surrounds me), then I turn on him, cause a nasty fight, cry, get a migraine, end up shaking and sobbing. But then it passes.  It's awful. Afterwards, I am wracked with guilt for being such a mess and feeling like for screwing up his life by not being healthy.

When the side effects start making you hurt the people that you love more than anything and rob you of all of your energy, trust me, you start to really think about what the heck you've done and what you put in your body.

There just hasn't been enough long term study of DP to really know what it does - we women are complicated internally and I know firsthand that the side effects can sneak up on you and it's easy to shove them off and blame them on other things. Then if you look at the experiences of thousands of women, we can't all be lying or making up problems that are documented by our physicians.

Google "depo provera horror stories" and you can read as many as you like. Mine's in there too.

Please think about it. Remember that once upon a time, smoking was considered a healthy habit and never ever completely trust the printed insert in a medication. The bone density loss warning came out after 15 years of the drug's use - meanwhile, how many women have had SERIOUS problems (osteoperosis, etc.) as a result of this little issue undiscovered before tens of millions of women (many of them young) have used the drug?

I know that I can't tell you to simply not have sex (that wouldn't have worked for me as a young woman), but with all of the options out there, please think about other ones. This one is very risky.

Be healthy and be smart!

Avatar universal
Oh - sorry - forgot to add that you also need to remember that what is distributed in the depo packaging and told to you by your Doctor is LEGALLY BINDING, so it's all very carefully worded and scrutinized by teams of lawyers.  Plus, the FDA has to have proof of both pros and cons before a drug is approved or an alert is sent out (like in the case of bone density loss).  Think of the billions of dollars in litigation that could ensue if a company admits a fault with it's drug (remember phen-phen, or more recently, Vioxx). It takes class action lawsuits and media attention to get action.

I swear I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm just asking that you thouroughly research any drug that you're going to use. If you want to look at more objective opinions, look at what's going on in Canada (where our FDA doesn't apply) - many groups think depo should be banned because of the side effects.

I'm just sayin' - be careful.

Take care,

Avatar universal
Stacie hun...i am glad you had no side effects...i am not mad at all :) my cousin got PG after missing one shot. unfortunately more woman have lasting side effect than don't. every woman's body is different and the effects can be more or less severe. depo was first invented to chemically castrate sex offenders....i think that is what bothers me the most....and i wondered why i lost my sex drive. it was also use for chemotherapy for cancer patients....i had to wonder if that is why when i got PG on it i m/c'ed. my OB at the time said yes and depo was the cause of my m/c's.

for those woman out there who have had little to no side effects...man you are so lucky and i will drink out of your cup any day :) for woman thinking about taking it just know ALL your options and weigh out ALL the good and bad stories and medical info you hear to make the best choice for you.

Avatar universal
Hi my name is Melissa and I went on the depo about 2 1/2 yrs ago. When I first got the shot I heard stories about the side affects and thought people where just trying to find something to complain about, I loved being on the shot there was no period I didnt have to worry about taking the pill everyday etc....
Well now im starting to wonder if everything I heard is true. Ive been off the shot for 6mo now and I still havent had a period, does anyone know how long it will take? I have alot of back pain, headaches, severe moodiness, weight gain, and alot more things that I think have do to the shot now that I am reading all of this. What do I do, ride it out to see if this stuff goes away or should I see a doctor?
Avatar universal
You will just have to wait and ride it out.  There's no medicine or shot to reverse Depo.  

It can take 18 months for your body to start cycling normally again.  

Also, Kimmy often has said that you have to lose all of the weight you gained while on Depo because Depo is stored in the fat you gained.  The sooner you lose the extra weight the sooner the Depo will be completely out of your system and the sooner your body can return to normal.
Avatar universal
Hi.  I'm new to this whole posting comments business.  I normally just read the postings, but don't add a comment or solicit help.  But, now, i have to, because I am desperate.

I took 3 shots of depo in 2003, and my then boyfriend, noticed an almost instant change in me.  My sex drive changed.  I cried frequently and my hair loss started.  Not to mention the weight gain.  I gain three pounds a month.  Which i guess isn't bad, but when u notice that it's a CONSISTANT pound a month, well....you learn to do that math.

So eventually I stoped taking depo and went on the pill.  Which was fine, but my hair was still falling out.

My now husband and I (the then boyfriend that was with me when i took the initial depo), agree to try the shot again.  This time, the same things happen....but sooner.  I am by nature a happy person and i love life, but the depo shots helps catapult me into a world of depression and lack of interest.  i used to love writing...now, i just don't bother anymore.  I used to love cooking....now i just don't bother anymore. I used to love hanging out with my girlfriends,....now, i just don't bother anymore.  That's what the shot makes me do....not bother.

I guess what i want to know, is, 1) is there a another medication i can take to combat this thing in my system? or to combat this depression i feel?

please help
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