Prescription or OTCProgestin-only


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Prescription or OTCProgestin-only

Our pharmacists’ 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
Worth it?Is it worth it?
Works well?Does it work?
Hassle?Is it a hassle?
  • 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.
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These are side effects of Shot (All) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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