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Contraception » Injection

Injection (jag)

There are 2 different contraceptive injections available

  1. Depo-Provera containing medroxyprogesterone acetate 150 mg per 1 ml
  2. Sayana Press containing medroxyprogesterone acetate 104 mg per 0.65 ml

Download the instructions for using Sayana Press (PDF 63Kb)

Depo-Provera is given by a health professional at a clinic while Sayana Press can be self administered at home. For more information about Sayana Press see

The contraceptive injection contains a hormone called progestogen which protects you from pregnancy for 13 weeks.

How effective is it?

The contraceptive injection is very effective with a failure rate of less than 4 pregnancies per 1000 users over 2 years. This means it is over 99.6% effective.

How does it work?

The main way the contraceptive injection works is to stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.

How is it given?

It is normally injected into the muscles of your bottom and needs to be given every 13 weeks.

Where can I get the contraceptive injection?

In Dumfries and Galloway you can get the contraceptive injection from your GP, a Sexual Health Clinic or a C2U clinic if you are under 20.

Can anyone use the contraceptive injection?

Most women who want the contraceptive injection can have it.

Conditions which may mean you could not use the contraceptive injection.

How old do I have to be to start the contraceptive injection?

The contraceptive injection lowers your natural oestrogen levels, which may cause thinning of the bones. In young women, bones are still gaining strength and there are concerns that the contraceptive injection may interfere with this. Your doctor or nurse is likely to encourage you to use other forms of contraception until age 18. However if other methods are not suitable, some young women do choose the contraceptive injection.

What are the advantages of the contraceptive injection?

Some of the good things about the contraceptive injection are:

What are the disadvantages of the contraceptive injection?

Problems with bleeding.

If you have problems with bleeding then discuss it with your doctor or nurse. It may be that some tablets would help to control the bleeding. Your doctor or nurse may also wish to check the bleeding is not due to some other causes, such as infection. Even if you do decide to stop the contraceptive injection the bleeding problems could continue for some months.

Risk factors for osteoporosis

  1. Periods stopping for 6 months or more because of dieting, an eating disorder or over exercising
  2. Smoking
  3. Heavy drinking
  4. Long term use of steroids
  5. Close family history of osteoporosis
  6. Certain medical conditions that affect the liver, thyroid or digestive system

Are there any serious risks linked with using the contraceptive injection?

Will my weight be affected by the use of the contraceptive injection?

Some though certainly not all women put on weight whilst on the contraceptive injection.

When should I have my first injection of the contraceptive injection?

It is usual to start the contraceptive injection within the first 5 days of your period. This means you will be immediately protected from pregnancy. If it is not possible to start in this way your doctor or nurse will discuss other options with you. If you are given the contraceptive injection after the first 5 days of your period you will not be protected from pregnancy for 7 days after the injection.

When should I have subsequent injections of the contraceptive injection?

You need to have injections every 13 weeks. The doctor or nurse who gives you the injection should tell you when your next injection is due. If you are unable to make this date discuss whether it is possible to come earlier. You can set up an SMS reminder to give yourself the next Sayana Press on If you do not manage to get the next injection at 13 weeks you need to use alternative contraception such as condoms until your contraceptive injection is given and often you will need to continue to do this for another 7 days after that. If you are overdue for an injection and do have unprotected sexual intercourse you may need emergency contraception such as the ‘morning after pill’. See our section on emergency contraception about this.

Can anything make the contraceptive injection less effective? 

How long can I use the contraceptive injection for?

Many women who use the contraceptive injection do so for just a few years but some use it for longer. If you wish to use it for more than 2 years your doctor or nurse will regularly ask you questions to work out whether you are at particular risk of osteoporosis and then together you can decide what would be best for you.


It is important that you are happy with the type of contraception you choose to use. Doctors and nurses are trained to work with you to find a method of contraception that suits you. Do not be afraid to discuss any concerns you may have