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Injectable Contraceptives

Injectable contraceptives contain synthetic hormones that are administered by deep intramuscular injection. Injectables are a safe and effective method of reversible contraception for most women. There are two types of injectable contraceptives available: progestin-only injectable contraceptives and combined injectable contraceptives that contain both a progestin and an estrogen hormone. Available progestin-only injectables include DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) and NET-EN (norethindrone enanthate). Available combined injectables are Cyclofem™ and Mesigyna®. Some characteristics of injectable contraceptives are highlighted below.


Progestin-only injectables: 0.1% to 0.6% failure rate during first year of use. Combined injectables: 0.2% to 0.4% failure rate during first year of use

Age limitations         

No general restrictions on use based on age for combined injectables; progestin-only injectables not recommended for girls younger than 16 because of theoretical concern about the effect on bone density

Parity limitations

No restrictions on use

Mode of action

Primarily by thickening cervical mucus, thereby preventing sperm penetration, and by inhibiting ovulation

Effect on STD risk

Not protective

Drug interaction

Use of certain antiseizure medications (barbiturates, carbamazepine, phenytoin, primadone) and antibiotics (Rifampin and Griseofulvin) may reduce the contraceptive effect of injectables

Duration of use

Most women can use injectables safely throughout their reproductive years (if the woman is satisfied with the method and has no problems with it)

Return to fertility

After a delay of about three to six months for progestin-only injectables; within three months for combined injectables

Return to Contraceptive Method List

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