Depo Shot Side Effects

What is Depo Shot?

The depo shot is usually provides for contraception and commonly the drug which is used for this purpose is medroxyprogesterone.

Other than contraception this is also used as pain controller for kidney or uterine cancer. Depo shots are given as intra-muscular injection; the site of injection is gluteal or deltoid muscle. The advantage of this route provides prolong action of the drug, as the drug is stored in muscular tissue.

The most common Depo Shot Side Effects are:

Depo Shot Side Effects

Hormonal side effects

Adrenal gland over activity increases the secretion of steroidal hormone which causes Cushing syndrome. This syndrome is common for prolonged therapy or high dose therapy, short duration and low dose may not provide this side effect.

Other than this, breast tenderness, difficulty is lactation, abnormal growth of hair on the face and body of the women, milky fluid discharge from the nipple (galactorrhea) with or without increase amount of prolactin hormone.

Alteration of body weight

Enhance weight gain is the common side effect with depo shot, rarely may individual experience weight loss. The tendency of weight gain is progressive with increasing the duration of therapy. The body weight is cumulatively increasing with increasing the therapy duration.

Different study shows the effect of lipid profile is changed, but the result varies study to study and controversial opinion get from these studies.

It has been reported that depo shot can provide changes in body weight, glucose tolerance and blood cholesterol level.

Reproductive organ side effects

Women are commonly affected and menstrual cycle related issues are most common side effect. Irregular menstruation, abnormally absence of menstrual cycle (amenorrhea), heavy bleeding or some may experienced spotting. Vaginal cyst, alteration in cervical erosion and discharges, painful sexual intercourse are the other associated side effects.

It also reported this therapy can modify libido and anorgasmia.


Preclinical study on rhesus monkey provides the data that application of this therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. To prove this more human studies are required.

Cardiovascular side effects

Hypercoagulable state is common with this therapy, which may also contribute in thrombotic events. If thrombic event is persisted then following disorders are commonly associated, such as hypertension, thrombophlebitis, irregular heartbeat, deep vein thrombosis, syncope, pulmonary embolism, retinal thrombosis and cerebro-vascular accidents.

This therapy enhances the fluid retention in the body and may dangerous for individuals who are cardiac patient, or suffer from migraine, renal impairment, asthma and epileptic attacks. These conditions become worsen with prolonged use of depo shot.

Side effects associated with skeletal muscles

It has been observed that bone density is changed and commonly suffer from osteoporosis. Mucle cramp in the leg is also common.

Skin related side effects

Different variety of skin related side effects are imparted with this therapy, which include loss of hair (alopecia), reduction in hair growth, development of acne, gray- brown patches on the facial skin (melasma), dark skin discoloration (chloasma), development of rashes, excessive perspiration, skin flakes formation due to dryness, hardening of the skin (scleroderma), hypersensitivity reaction on the skin (erythema multiforme) and reddish lump formation on the skin mainly occurs at the leg(erythema nodosum).

Side effects on Nervous system

The moderate to severe side effects associated with nervous system side effects, but the incidence of mortality is rare. The included side effects are headache, dizziness, weakness, depression, sleeplessness (insomnia) and some individual also experiences too much sleepiness (somnolence). Other than these, convulsion, burning sensation in hand, leg, palm and other parts of the body (Paresthesias) and inability of controlling facial muscles (facial palsy).

Side effects on GI tract

The included side effects are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramp, flatulence and loss of appetite.

Liver problem

Jaundice and cholelithiasis are two commonly liver problem associated as a side effect of the depo shot therapy.

Allergic reaction

Anaphylactic shock is a most dangerous allergic side effect, other than this swelling in the subcutaneous tissue and urticaria can also occur.

Effect on site of injection

At the muscular site of injection development of pain and the local abscess or lump formation is common and some time skin discoloration also associated.

Visual side effects

These side effects are not common partial or complete loss of vision, double vision, bulging of eye orbit. The therapy is not recommended for a patient who already has optical problem.


  1. Depo-Provera Side Effects Center at
  2. Depo-Provera (contraceptive injection) Risks, preparation at
  3. How Effective Is Depo-Provera for Birth Control?, Can I Get Pregnant After I Stop Using Depo-Provera?, What Are the Advantages of Depo-Provera? What Are the Disadvantages? at
  5. How Does Depo-Provera Work?, How Effective is Depo-Provera?, What Are the Disadvantages of Depo-Provera? at

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