Injectable contraceptives are the type of a long-term hormonal birth control commonly known as “the shot” or “the jab”. A birth control pill made a real revolution in sexual life and contraception. Another revolution was made with the invention of injectable contraceptives. This is a more convenient form of hormonal contraception since it provides prevention from pregnancy for up to twelve weeks when injected and a woman does not have to care about everyday pill.
Injectable contraceptives are available in progestin-only form and in combination of both a progestin and an estrogen hormone. A progestin-only form available in market are Depo-Provera known as DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) and NET-EN (norethindrone enanthate) when combined hormonal injectable contraceptives are Cyclofem (also called Lunelle) and Mesigyna. Either of these injectables is prescribed by a doctor only and is administered only four times a year. The first shot should be given during the first five days of a normal menstrual cycle. It should be administered differently after labor and during the period of breastfeeding. Usually the shot is given during the first five days after labor if a woman is not breastfeeding and only after six weeks if a woman is breastfeeding. The drug is given as a deep intramuscular injection in the buttocks or the upper arm.
Injectable contraceptives are a very effective and comfortable form of birth contro l for women. There is only 0.1% to 0.6% failure rate during first year of use for progestin-only injectables and 0.2% to 0.4% failure rate during first year of use for combined injectable contraceptives. This type of contraception is as efficient in birth control as tubal ligation and much more efficient than many other birth control methods , such as a diaphragm , an intrauterine device or male condoms . However, injectables provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and hence male condoms should be used during each sexual intercourse.
Injectable contraceptives prevent from unplanned pregnancy by suppressing ovulation (release of an egg or ovum). They can also thicken cervical mucus so that it is hard for sperm to enter the uterus. In addition, injectables make the uterine lining thinner and hence there is no possibility for a fertilized egg to implant.
This type of birth control is available also to women who are breastfeeding since it does not have any effect on a baby. However, as noted above injectables should be administered only after six weeks after labor. Note that injectable contraceptives are a reversible form of contraception that offers prevention from unplanned pregnancy for up to three months when injected. It may, however, take nine to ten months to get pregnant after discontinuation of use. One should be aware, that a woman should not use injectables for more than two years due to the negative effect on the bone mass.