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
Manufactured 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.
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.
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
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
Suffered two arm fractures, and buckling/major break of sternum at age 29.
Posted by Maryland
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
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
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
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
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
Significant chronic osteoporosis pain.
Posted by Michigan
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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