Depo-Provera Birth Control and Osteoporosis


Depo Provera is a contraceptive administered by Depo Provera injection. Since 2005, the FDA has warned of Depo Provera side effects; consequently Depo Provera lawsuits have been filed, including a class action in Toronto, alleging Depo shot side effects include Depo Provera bone loss and Depo Provera osteoporosis.

Depo-Provera Birth Control and Osteoporosis

Depo-provera-injectionManufactured by Pfizer, Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate suspension for injection) is a powerful contraceptive or birth-control medication that is administered by injection four times a year, rather than the more common daily oral birth control pill.

Depo Provera injection, or 'depo shot', has remained popular among women because of its higher pregnancy prevention rate and its convenience. According to Pfizer's website, Depo injection is effective in ending pregnancies more than 99 percent of the time, and it is marketed as a "hassle and worry free" birth control method, saving women from daily pill popping.

Depo-Provera contains a powerful variant of the hormone progestosterone which is released through a hypodermic shot every few months. This hormone has been shown to increase the loss of bone density in women of all ages, including teen and young adult women who are in critical stages of natural bone growth. Concerns that the drug causes massive and partially irreversible bone loss in young women have led to a number of lawsuits in the US and three lawsuits in Canada.

Since its launch, many studies have been conducted on Depo-Provera, its side effects and effectiveness. A study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine documents bone loss or Osteoporosis in women while they were taking Depo-Provera. Other back-up studies claim that the bone loss may be reversible in younger women while some studies say the bone loss is permanent.

Osteoporosis and the loss of bone density typically affect women later in life, making them susceptible to fractures throughout the skeletal system, but men of all ages and young women are also prone to osteoporosis. Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection may cause women of all ages to lose calcium stored in bones and the longer Depo-Provera is taken, the more calcium is likely to be lost.

Depo Provera Side Effects

Depo-provera side effects can include:
  • Loss of BMD (bone mineral density) that could lead to the onset of osteoporosis, low bone density, and other osteo-related diseases

  • Menstrual irregularities such as bleeding and spotting

  • Amenorrhea or not having any periods. ( After a year of Depo Provera injections, 57 percent of women are not menstruating; after two years of taking Depo shots, 68 percent of women are not menstruating.)

  • Spotty darkening of the skin, usually around or on the face, which may be permanent

  • Weight gain due to increased appetite

  • Pregnancy-like symptoms include sore breasts, nausea, fatigue, and abdominal discomfort.
Other Depo shot side effects include excessive weight gain, hair loss, headaches, muscle stiffness, and severe joint pain. The long-term effects on bone density and women's bodies are still unknown.

Depo-Provera Timeline

1990: Women's health activists in New Zealand raise concerns about the potential loss of bone density in young women taking Depo Provera.

1991: Canadian Coalition on Depo-Provera, a coalition of women's health professional and advocacy groups, opposes the approval of Depo in Canada.

1992: FDA approves Depo-Provera, which has already been used by over 30 million women since 1969.

1995: Several women's health groups ask the FDA to put a moratorium on Depo-Provera, and to institute standardized informed consent forms.

2002: Pfizer promises results of post-marketing studies.

November 2004: Pfizer shows in post-marketing studies permanent bone mineral density (BMD) loss.

(As a result of post-marketing studies, conducted separately with adults and with adolescents, it appears that Pfizer knew of clinical bone density test data regarding the use of Depo Provera Contraceptive Injection and its associated effect on bone mineral density (BMD) before issuing a black box warning.)

FDA issues an order whereby all Depo-Provera packaging and promotional materials must contain a "black box" warning which reads:
    "Use of Depo-subQ Provera 104 or Depo Provera may cause you to lose calcium stored in your bones. The longer you use Depo Provera, the more calcium you are likely to lose. The calcium may not return completely once you stop using Depo Provera. Loss of calcium may cause weak bones that could increase the risk that your bones might break, especially after menopause. It is not known whether your risk of developing osteoporosis may be greater if you are a teenager when you start to use Depo Provera. You should only use Depo Provera long term (more than 2 years) if other methods of birth control are not right for you".
December 2005: A $700-million class-action lawsuit is filed against Pfizer, the Depo-Provera maker, in Toronto. The lawsuit claims that long-term users of Depo Provera have been diagnosed with serious bone density problems including but not limited to osteoporosis, fractures, brittle teeth, spine injuries, and hip injuries.

The Depo-Provera lawsuit also alleges that Pfizer failed to forewarn doctors and patients of the serious bone density risks associated with long-term use of the drug and had originally promoted the injection as a safe contraceptive method for long-term use.

Pfizer Canada said it plans to vigorously defend the Depo-Provera class action lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court.

Late 2005: Pfizer reports a net income of $2.732 billion. Depo Provera has now been used worldwide for almost 25 years and in the United States for 13 years.

2010: Pfizer settles several class action suits regarding Depo Provera, and individual claims against the company are still an option.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of Depo-Provera continues to actively promote this birth control method to women of all ages, and is very popular among younger women. Despite the FDA warnings and reports of bone loss, millions of doses are prescribed every year. (Between 1994-2000, USAID sent over 40 million units of depo-provera to birth control programs in the developing world, mostly to Africa).

If you are currently taking Depo-Provera, you might want to discuss a bone density test with your physician or health professional. If you have suffered any Depo Provera side effects, you should contact your doctor and have him or her file an adverse reaction report with the FDA. Next, it is advisable that you seek legal help--sooner than later, and do not contact Pfizer.

Depo-Provera Osteoporosis Legal Help

If you are taking or have taken Depo-Provera birth control and subsequently suffered a loss of bone density, been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, or suffered a bone fracture, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action lawsuit. Please fill in the form to the right to submit your complaint and we will have a lawyer review your Depo-Provera complaint.
Last updated February 13 2011

Reader Comments

Posted by
California Misery
on
Had continuous use of the depo provera shots about 15 years ago now- no problems while on the medication for 2 years, and have since stopped. Tried again to utilize the depo shot about 5 years ago, and had major issues, including bleeding/spotting for the duration. I have since also had major weight gain, migraine headaches and infertility. I have a strong feeling this has lead me to where I am now, I am looking down the barrel at complete hysterectomy, as I have already lost one ovary. I am 35 years old. I have had consistent problems/ issues since my early twenties, only after using this as an "effective" birth control.
My doctor recently gave me a shot called LUPRON DEPOT- which is in the same family classification of this product and I am having the worst side effects of my life up to this point-

Posted by
Ms. Williams
on
I had been taking Depo Provera since the 90's and while on the medication it caused me to have everything from mood swings to my body feeling older than it was. Over the last 15+ years I'd wake up in the morning and say how I felt like I was stuck in a 90 year olds body--now everything is constantly aching. I was not told of ANY SIDE EFFECTS of this medication, to only find out while on it that I would have a period for 2 weeks straight, fatigue, mood swings. And today, I can barely do my job because my hands ache so bad and my back kills me to the point I'm constantly having to get up at work and move around. I have bone density loss, have had a number of DEXA scans done, I have been diagnosed with Osteopenia and Arthritis!! I should not have to feel like this at this age!! We trusted the doctors, our government to provide a safe and effective birth control method, only now I feel like I was a guinea pig in someone's lab.
I had to have a major surgery in the beginning of this year and only to be told that I should not have remained on this drug for more than 3 years and I took it for about 12. My teeth have become soft as a result of this as well.

Posted by
Shenea davis
on
I took the shot for almost 5 years. Had no periods during that time. Then in 2006 while still taking the shot I had 3 surgeries ending with a total hysterectomy. I believe his shot had something to do with that. I also have joint and bone pain, grade 3 arthritis in my knees, severe migraines, blurred vision and constant ringing in my ears. Is there somethimg that can be done because of this. I really believe this shot led to me no longer being able to conceive children...I wasn't even 40 when I had to have my hysterectomy!!

Posted by
Monique allen
on
I need legal help with the use of depo Vera I have used it for 12yrs but I was not told all these side effect

Posted by
Crystal Rice
on
I thought all this was in my head I always was fatigue, I spot days before my period and it became heavy since the shot! My face became fat till this day my mother told me to stop taking it after 2 years now I'm reading abdomal pain I still had that I had staples a, and an ectopic pregnancy! I still headaches my teeth begin to get bad omg I'm floored I thought it was me! I'm scare to get a bone density test I have a history of back problems I thought it was because of my breast but I never could understand how I couldn't drop the weight after exercising, and eating right! So i wasn't going crazy after all!

Posted by
Lisa Lee
on
I have been taking depo-provera since 2003 the beginning of 2014 I started seeing spots I went to an eye doctor who told me I had papilloedema which is fluid on your brain pushing down on your eyes 1 week later I started to see a black curtain come over my eyes for a few seconds .I couldn't stand straight felt like I was walking sideways when I walk in had to hold on to my fiance arm sometimes. Then I started hearing these ringing sounds in my ears let me not forget the beginning of 2014 I would get these pounding headaches on the back of my head . So my doctor had me go get a mri done and wow I hadon't a brain tumor it's so crazy because now I'm thinking the depo-provera had something to do with that . It's 2016 I go get the depo-provera in October I'm done with it .

Posted by
veronica coley
on
I STIIL HAVE MIGRAINES AND CANT HAVE A BABY

Posted by
Sabrina
on
I used depo from 1996-2004. I suffered from migraines, fractured vertabraes in my back not knowing how it happened. I have two deteriorating disc in my back and was told I have arthritis in my back and shoulder. Ive been told I am calcium deficient as well. Ive been suffering for years now.

Posted by
Janet Trussell
on
I took Depo-Provera for 18 years. I was a world class competitor in Judo. All the girls I used to compete and train with still work out and some still compete. I couldn't do judo if I wanted to. I have arthritis in my shoulders so bad it hurts to lean back against the couch. It hurts to walk. I need help dressing. I can't begin to count how many times a day I cry out because it hurts so much to move my arms. And I never had a shoulder injury. I was a vegetarian for 15 years. There is no way my body should be as broken down as it is. I am only 54 and this started 2 years ago. And now my hip is starting to hurt as well. I always thought I would work until the day I died, but I don't know how I will. I used to have a cute little sports car and I had to sell it because I can't turn the steering wheel. I never never thought I would be in this kind of shape at this age. It really scares me.

Posted by
Nora Robinson
on
I took the Depo shot from 1997 to 1999. That was the worst decision I could have made. I experienced massive loss of blood during period where my clothes would be drenched. Eventually I discontinued using it. Over the years I've suffered from aching in my bones and irregular menstrual cycle.

Posted by
Nadia
on
Im 35 years old and feel like I'm 80! I have been diagnosed with 2 different arthritis and I currently have 4 disc messed up in my lower back and 2 in my neck and also have lumbar spainal problems...I have been I started taking the depo in 1994 all the way too 2004.

Posted by
New Jersey
on
Received Depo for about a year in 1995 I gained 20lb after reading for the past couple of hours I have just realized that the Depo shot is the reason for my face paralysis in 1995 I have never regained full function of my face and have been self conscious all of these years. I also was diagnosed with cervical cancer which I had surgery on. I currently have terrible periods, headaches, blurred vision at times and severe mood changes and depression. Also, recently I have been having terrible pains in my knees and hands. Lastly i have a daughter that is 18 after i had her i was unable to conceive and had to have fertility treatments (IVF) to havr more children. I have always wondered why and what was causing all of these issues and it always went back to the Depo shot that I received. This medication should not be on the market and no one should have to suffer mentally or physically.

Posted by
Christina mcintosh
on
Wow, wish I had read more about this drug before I started it. I have had 3 shots and will Not be getting another. I put on 20 lbs fast and I Never had weight issues. Also have been really depressed and feeling not at all lie myself. They need to stop giving this to women.

Posted by
lacey babcock
on
i'm 25 yrs old and i have only had one shot and within one month of having it I'm suffering from depression, real bad anxiety plus i'm losing hair, bleeding alot and my bones hurt i haven't been able to sleep either and its making me feel like im losing my mind

Posted by
Jasmine Byrd
on
I just stopped using depo after 11months. 75% of my whole head of hair came out, I've had back acne which I never had before, depression and moodiness. I really wish I knew of a class action lawsuit that I could be apart of, especially due to the fact that I had to finally just cut all my hair off : (

Posted by
Donna Deloske
on
I was on the shot for over 10 years, I have had my bone dinsiyty checked but it had nothing to do with the shot. I was average or better. The nurse was very surprised because I smoked and was on the bill. I am now 52 and I have paiin everyday in my knees and hips. I got lymes from a tick last summer so I thought that was why it hurts so bad now. I will be seeeing doctors about this now. I do NOT want to be the old lady in the wheelchair hooked on Ox'ys!!!! I am in good shape I have always loved being outside hunting swimming, camping. anything competitive IM IN.. NOW I CAN BARLEY WALK, I take 800 mgs ib brofen daily. but its getting worse. I am unemployed and I need an income but haven't gota college education so Im wondering how I am to support myself if I can walk or stand all day?

Need help!!

Posted by
Marie
on
My daughter (who is now 34) had the depo provera injection ONLY ONCE in 1998. She was 16 yrs old. If I had of known she was going to get this shot I would have somehow convinced her not to. Within only a very short period of time I noticed she was gaining weight..she also did not get her periods again for MANY YRS!! ALL FROM ONE INJECTION. she has suffered thinning of her hair (and she had beautifull healthy dark hair) ....including abnormal hair growth on her arms. She is now 34 yrs old and still does not get periods..only recently she has had the odd one but they are very light and not regular at all. She has been told by a doctor that she has PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) I KNOW the decpo provera has caused all her problems...She may never be able to have a baby!!!!!!!!! thanks to this horrible shot. I lost my son my youngest child in 2013....and she was my only hope for a grandchildren....most of all my anger is at the helath issues she has had because of this...She also has fibromyalgia and chonic pain all the time.

Posted by
J. Bilisari
on
I was on Depo Provera from 1993 - 2014. I have suffered and still suffer from many of the side effects. I suffer from debilitating migraines, depression, weight gain, anxiety, stress and overall body stiffness. I would like to know if I have a case against them. If I do, could someone refer me to an attorney. I currently live in Arizona.

Posted by
amelia gregory
on
I am a 51 years old. I took the depo Provera birth control shots for several years 1992 1996 I am now being treated for osteoarthritis ddd and live in constant pain. That is just a few of my problems I

Posted by
Lekeysha Hinez
on
I was on depo provera from 1997 to 2010. I have suffered alot of the side effects.

Posted by
Amanda bellan Curtis
on
Have many related health issues from taking drop provera
Want to know if I have a case against them

Posted by
Carole King-Hemstreet
on
I took this drug about 21 yrs ago, and I wondered why I had lost of energy and bone lost. Had a Hysterectomy too.

However, I was on a lot of differnet drugs from 1989 to present, due to Job stress of working at Prison.

Posted by
Orshi G
on
Hi there, im 38 and has two beautiful daughter!
My two pregnancy were back to back, and nursed them also for one year, so it like for 4 yeard i didnt have period.when i finished nursing and had my first period after all those years on dec22 2007, i had a depo provera shot. Two months later, fedruary 15 2008 i noticed empty spots on my head, missing hair spots, as nail size!
I called my obgyn he said i need to come in next monday. That weekend we were online surching about what can happen to me.... Monday when i got the result that i have alopecia, which is a sudden hair loss that can happen, and i believe that this drug triggered something in my body. I was 30 years old when its all started, with two babies who they dont remember me as with hair!!!!! As today like i said at 38 i have no hair on my body, noone would help me to figure it out, i dont know where to go.....
I need to apply a job too, who would hire me with no hair???? THANKS to this drug!!!!!!!

Posted by
Cindy hollander
on
Please email me I was on depot shop for 18.years .. I suffer osteoporosis blood clots and other health issues tired all the time depressed

Posted by
viola
on
i took the shot at the age of 14 for 9 months and im 27 now but i still gain weight when i was on it i also suffer from headaches and migraines and even stiffness all over my body

Posted by
Elsa Laura posey
on
I'm a 42 year female that took depo provera from 1993 to 2000 and now I have osteopenia and have pain all the time. I've haven't had a normal menstral since 1993 and not able to get pregnant either. I advice anyone whose on the the birth control to stop. Not worth it...

Posted by
Missouri
on
Suffered two arm fractures, and buckling/major break of sternum at age 29.

Posted by
Maryland
on
The Depo Shot make me insulin-resistant (i.e., Type 2 Diabetes). In addition to rather painful swelling, I experienced massive weight gain to the excess of 60lbs in less than 6 months.

Posted by
North Dakota
on
I was on Depo shot from 2000-2008...since about 3 years now I have been fighting issues with hip pain and now knees...I have had a few bone density tests done and was diagnosed with osteopenia..I had all this done at the VA hospitals in three different states. I do believe this is all caused by the Depo shot..I was told about six years ago that I was on it for too long and they were no longer going to offer this shot thru the VA systems due to the issues.

Posted by
Ontario
on
I have horrible pain in my back including degenerative discs and Osteoarthritis in my hips. I also have lots of problems with my knees and I am only 26 years old.

Posted by
Texas
on
I have bone loss, energy loss, and I was taking Boniva for my Osteoporosis but now I am having problems with my lower jaw bone due to that. I can't win for losing.

Posted by
West Virginia
on
i cant do my job now because i am a cna and have a lot of hands on with people that can hurt me. they said to be very careful now because the meds i have to take can cause my jaw bone to break easily.

Posted by
Nevada
on
Significant chronic osteoporosis pain.

Posted by
Michigan
on
I lost my military career. That is the only thing I ever wanted to do and because of weaken bones I was medically discharged with a broken hip.

Posted by
Michigan
on
I have had a couple of fractures in the past. One was an ankle that the doctor could actually sew through my bone. After that I had a bone density test that said I was suffering of osteopenia. I now am losing all of my back teeth. My body aches all the time.

Posted by
Florida
on
I have degenerative disc disease, spots on my face, osteoarthritis, lost most of my perfectly healthy adult teeth in a period of 2 years.

Posted by
Virginia
on
I have sustained compression fractures of my thoracic spine and my left ankle over the last couple of years. I also have severe neck pain. In addition to the pain I suffered from these injuries and the limits I have placed on my activities for fear of further injury, I have incurred a high amount of medical expenses in treating my injuries and diagnosing the cause of my osteopenia with an endocrinologist.

Posted by
Minnesota
on
Osteoporosis, DDD in my spine for which I have had to have several surgeries for due to the constant pain I am in, Fibromyalga, Joint pain and swelling, loss of all my top teeth, and loosing all my bottom teeth. I have medical documentation of all of this.

Posted by
Georgia
on
I have degenerative disc disease and osteoperosis and I am 34. did not have a cycle from january of 2008 until september 2010. I have major joint and bone issues.

Posted by
Wisconsin
on
I have been going through major testing to find out why I have major bone loss in my spine. I am 40 years old and last year it was descoved that I have osteoporosis -3 Tscore. I have been on Boniva for a year. Met with a bone specialist 2 weeks ago and found my bones have gotton worse now a -3.6 Tscore. After running many major tests the doctor attributes it to the use of Depo that I used for almost 4 years when I was younger. I have also been informed that I am not going through menopause so it is only going to get worse.

Posted by
Tennessee
on
I am a 25 year old african american woman with one child and have found out that I have osteoporosis. I got on the first shot six weeks after I had my child in Sept of 2003. I quit taking the shot in 2007.

Posted by
Louisiana
on
I never knew that this was a possible side effect of the drug. After being on the drug for 5 years I am now off of it after having my bone density scan and learning about my osteoporosis.

I am 23 years old and have osteoporosis. I have also gained a significant amount of weight due to the shot.

Posted by
Tennessee
on
At age 38, I had a bone density test, and my spine is more than 2 SD below the mean (osteoporosis) and my hip is about 1.5 SD below th mean (osteopenia). I have run and lifted weights since I was 13, and began taking calcium and doing yoga too when I began Depo-Provera. Despite my healthy life style and weight, I am 39 and have the bones of an 80-year-old woman!

Posted by
Tennessee
on
I was recommended for a bone density scan because of depo therapy, and my insurance wouldn't cover it because it was classified as a pre existing medical condition, even though I was never previously warned that bone density loss could occur with depo. Now I'm supposed to have regular bone density scans and can't afford them, I also take calcium supplements regularly.

Posted by
Florida
on
Since stopping Depo I have had continous problems with my hips and pain. When addressing this at my private medical doctor I was sent for xrays. The x rays presented deterioration of the hip joints which I have never had before. I have been living in constant pain since and this is unusual for a person who is only 26 years of age.

Posted by
North Carolina
on
No doctor ever told my mother about the dangers of staying on the drug for more than two years. She had no idea that the shot was causing any damage to her body. Each time she would go into the hospital and get injected with depo provera. None of her doctors ever asked her how long she had been using depo, they did not check her medical chart, instead they injected her and sent her home. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that her doctor finally stated to her that she should have stopped taking depo after two years. My mom had no clue that depo would do this to her, she never saw any commericals and not one doctor ever advised her to stop taking the shot. She went to the hospital a few days ago to get a bone scan to determine how much bone density was lost. The doctor told her "you have the bones of an 80 year old woman". All of this because nobody ever told her that she needed to come off depo. She said that for years she would go to work and be in so much pain she would cry. She couldn't figure out was going on, she thought it may have just been her developing arthritis so she never said anything. Now she's finding out that the pain was caused by depo provera which caused the osteoporosis. She works at a group home for mentally disabled people and part of her job includes lifting, bathing and other jobs that require manual labor. Because of osteoporosis she will not be able to work anymore. She has called lawyer after lawyer, only to be turned down. Basically they all said that the case may be winable but there would be too much work involved in trying to prove everything. I think that it's an outrage! It's not her fault that she has osteoporosis at 47 years old. If she would have known she would have come off the drug years ago. But now she's basically being told that there is nothing that anyone can do for her. Everyone in this situation or similar to this situation is suing the drug company. In my opinion, the doctors that continued injecting my mother with this stuff ought to be sued. They should have asked her how long she had been on depo or atleast checked her medical chart. They failed to do that and the result is my mother having to live with "80 year old bones." Forgive me if I sound angry, I just can't believe that nobody will help her.

Posted by
Ohio
on

Started on Depo Provera age 17, 1997. Continued on it until 2002. Took 18 months to get pregnant, then lost first child to a missed miscarriage. Shortly after, got pregnant with our daughter, born 12/22/04. Dr. advised to use Depo Provera since I was nursing our daughter. After receiving the shot in 2005, I read the newly revised pamplet that recommended a bone density test if on Depo Provera for 2+ years. I was diagnosed in May 2005 with Osteopenia, the beginning of Osteoporosis. I recently had another BD test since I now have to have them every 2 years. I have not received the results yet. Osteopenia beginning stage of Osteoporosis

Posted by
California
on
Two miscarriages, excessive weight gain, severe mood swings, massive loss of hair, inability to sleep. I just recently had a partial hysterectomy due to a huge mass on my uterus.

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