Prescription or OTCProgestin-only


Back to: Full Site NavigationSkip to: side effects sectionSkip to: What to expect sectionSkip to: Risks and warnings sectionSkip to: Tips from users and pharmacists
Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.
Prescription or OTCProgestin-only

Our bottom line

The shot, also called Depo, is an effective method of birth control that has to be done every 3 months. Your health care provider can give you the shot or you can do it yourself at home.

of people using this method got pregnant in a year


  • You only have to remember to get the shot every 3 months, otherwise you don't have to worry about birth control at all.
  • Very effective when taken as scheduled.
  • Decreases flow and frequency of periods for most women; half of women taking the shot will stop having periods entirely.
  • Progestin-only, so good for women who can't use estrogen.
  • Undetectable and won't get in the way of spontaneity.
  • Safe to use while breastfeeding.


  • Not great if you're afraid of needles.
  • Requires an appointment every 3 months unless you do it yourself at home.
  • Irregular bleeding in the first 6-12 months.
  • Works immediately if taken within the first 5 days of the period cycle, otherwise you'll have to use backup birth control during the following week.
  • Can typically take up to 9 months after last shot for fertility to return.
  • Women may gain up to 5 pounds/2.5 kilograms in the first year.
  • Does not protect against STDs.
What do people say?
122 reviews
Loading pricing data...

These are side effects of Shot (All) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

0 reports

Final section. Do you want to return to method navigation?
  • Depo-Provera
    Massive weight gain- 40 lbs in 3 months that I have not been able to loose 6 years later
  • The hormones in depo made me gain a significant amount of weight and caused my natural hormones to go all out of wack. I actually became suicidal, but luckily sought help and altered my birth control type