Depo-SubQ Provera 104 and Pregnancy

As a pregnancy Category X medicine, depo-subQ Provera 104 (medroxyprogesterone subcutaneous injection) is not recommended for use in women who are expecting. This drug poses many risks to the baby, such as decreased birth weight. If you are receiving these injections and are thinking about becoming pregnant, be aware that it may take many months to conceive after receiving your last shot of this drug.

Can Pregnant Women Use Depo-SubQ Provera 104?

depo-subQ Provera 104® (medroxyprogesterone subcutaneous injection) is a prescription medication approved to prevent pregnancy. It is also licensed to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis, a condition that occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It comes as a long-acting injection that is given once every three months.
depo-subQ Provera 104 has been given a pregnancy Category X classification based on its risks during pregnancy. The use of a pregnancy Category X medicine during pregnancy is not recommended.

What Is Pregnancy Category X?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medicines that have caused problems in the fetus during animal studies or in human use of the medication. With this category, the potential risks clearly outweigh the possible benefits.
Although depo-subQ Provera has not specifically been studied in pregnant women, the hormone contained in this medicine (medroxyprogesterone) was once used to prevent early miscarriages in pregnant women. However, there was no evidence that it was effective for this use, and it is no longer prescribed for this purpose. Because it was once used in pregnant women, information is available on the possible effects of its use in pregnancy.
Some studies that looked at the possible effects of medroxyprogesterone when used early in pregnancy suggested that the drug increased the risk for abnormal development of the infant's genitals. However, other studies have failed to show an association between medroxyprogesterone use and birth defects.
depo-subQ Provera 104 may decrease a baby's birth weight if given to a pregnant woman early in her pregnancy. However, this decreased birth weight does not appear to affect later growth. This is based on studies that failed to show any long-term growth problems in children exposed to medroxyprogesterone in utero (in the womb).
Although depo-subQ Provera 104 is a pregnancy Category X medicine and is not recommended for use during pregnancy, there does not appear to be an increased risk for birth defects in women who unintentionally receive a depo-subQ Provera 104 shot early in their pregnancy. This might happen if a woman does not know she is pregnant, and receives a depo-subQ Provera 104 shot.
If you are receiving depo-subQ Provera 104 shots and decide you want to become pregnant, it is important to understand that the effects of this contraceptive can last for a long time after you get your last shot. In fact, it can take a year or longer after stopping the medicine to conceive. However, this residual effect should not be relied upon for birth control; some women get pregnant right away after stopping this medication.

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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