contraceptive injection, birth control injection, depo provera

DMPA/Antara - Contraceptive injection in India

The contraceptive injection, also known as Antara (DMPA) in India, is a shot that prevents pregnancy. The injection contains hormones (progestin or progestin- estrogen together) that prevent your body from releasing eggs and thicken the mucus at the cervix.

What is contraceptive injection? 

As clear from the name, these contraceptives are injected into the body and keep releasing the pregnancy-hindering hormone in low doses. Progesterone-only injectable contraceptives (POIC) is a long-acting and reversible method of contraception. 

Is it available in India? 

In India, Depo-Provera is a well-known brand name for a contraceptive injection that contains the hormone progestin. Depot Provera or Depot MedroxyProgesterone Acetate or DMPA (generic name) is a long-acting injectable contraceptive. The contraceptive injection (or the DMPA) is also commonly known as Antara in India. One dose lasts for three months. 

'Injectables have various side effects and are not preferred for that reason,' says Dr Dolly Bagai, who is a general physician based in Delhi with extensive practice in obstetrics and gynaecology.  

How long does it work? 

It is given as an injection every three months. 

How does it work? 

The medroxyprogesterone acetate present in it suppresses ovulation, keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. It also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg. It works well if you don't want to take a birth control pill every day but may have some side effects. 

Does it have any side effects? 

The major problem with this method is irregular menstrual bleeding and missing menstrual periods entirely which is known as amenorrhea, according to the bulletin of Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Delhi (AOGD), published by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.

Other side effects may be progesterone-related weight gain, headache, dizziness, and a decrease in bone density. For this reason, its use is prohibited beyond two years by the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

How soon can the fertility return if I want to conceive? 

It takes about 9-10 months for fertility to return after stopping this drug.

Pros of Depo-Provera 

  • Reliable and effective 
  • Stress free sex for a long time 
  • No maintenance 
  • Cost effective

Cons of Depo-Provera 

  • Regular doctor visits 
  • Fertility does not return immediately if you want to conceive 
  • Can cause irregular menstrual periods or other side effects.
  • It does not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases

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