How Long Does It Take for the Depo Provera Shot to Wear Off?

Summary: The Depo Provera shot is a very popular and convenient method of birth control. However, because it is long-acting some women have difficulty getting pregnant after stopping it. One large study and patient feedback shows that the time to conception can vary wildly from woman to woman.

Dear Curtis: I was on the Depo-Provera shot for just over 3 years. My husband and I have decided that we would like to start trying to get pregnant. My last shot was two months ago. How long do you think it will take for the Depo to wear off?

It’s a fairly common concern among women. First and foremost, a lot of women get the Depo-Provera® shot (medroxyprogesterone) because it is so effective at preventing pregnancy. But, because it’s long acting (one shot every thirteen weeks) the effects can carry on longer. And generally speaking, women do have a more difficult time getting pregnanat after stopping Depo vs. stopping the birth control pill.

I obviously can’t give you an exact answer. I can give you best case scenario and time frames that other women have experienced.

Depo’s Half Life In Your Body

First of all, Depo Provera can be administered in two different ways: IM (Intramuscular – a ‘deep’ shot that is given in your buttock or shoulder) or SQ (Subcutaneous – a short-needle shot given in thigh or abdomen). According to the manufacturer it which shot you are given when it comes to how long the shot lasts in your body. In short, it doesn’t matter which shot you were given.

Now, when Depo is injected into your body it actually has a very long ‘half-life’ and stays in your system for quite a while. This is the main reason why you only have to get an injection (IM) every 13 weeks or every 12 to 14 weeks for the SQ injection. I’ve written about this before but pharmacists use the half-life of a drug as a reliable indicator to determine when a drug will, for practical purposes, be out of your body.

Most pharmacists will use four to five half-lives to determine when the drug is gone. In the case of Depo Provera the half life is 50 days. So, multiplying out by four to five you get 200 to 250 days before the Depo is out of your system enough and you can expect to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

What Studies Show Us

There have been studies looking at the return of fertility following Depo usage. What they found seems to support the half life calculation.

  • Roughly 50% of women who become pregnant after using medroxyprogesterone injection do so in about 10 months after their last injection.
  • Roughly 67% become pregnant in about 12 months
  • About 83% become pregnant within 15 months
  • And 93% become pregnant within 18 months of their last injection.

One thing we also know from the studies is that a woman’s weight has no effect on how long it takes you to become pregnant.

Your Personal Situation

Right now you said you are two months out from your last injection. So, that’s about 60 days. Using our calculation above and the available study I would expect you to not have any success achieving pregnancy for at least another 4 months and probably closer to five months. By month eight or nine (starting from day of last injection) the Depo should be out of your system completely.

If you are seriously committed to getting pregnant and the earliest possible time I would recommend using a fertility monitor (again, starting at about day 200).

Let me also say that you can become pregnant sooner. In fact, some women become pregnant who are diligently taking the Depo shot. However, it’s very rare and I wouldn’t count on it. But I mention it because it is a possibility.

Comments

  1. Jasmine says:

    i have a question if you only took one shot of depo provera when will the closes time to conceive?

  2. Robbin says:

    I only had one shot how long will it wear off….. And I’m not getting my next depo shot next month… Because I have bled every month since I had got it and had severe pain every day I bled.. So can you help me about what’s wrong with me…

  3. Nicole Missick says:

    The last time I took depo provera was in July, 2011. I havent see a period has yet but I have spotted and had like light vaginal slime in my discharge. Can I be pregnant, I am putting on weight around my stomach area. Or am I ovaulating?

  4. Janett says:

    My next appointment for my depo shot was on November 2011 y forgot to go… is there any changes of me getting pregnant with out using protection with my husband.. I been getting the shot about a year and 5 months.

  5. sexylove says:

    I havent used depo since 2007 and still is not pregnant what can be the problem

  6. Danni 2010 says:

    Hi, I got of the depo in september and got my period back in dec of the andI got my 2nd period on jan 17 and i’m still on it, Me and my parner are trying to have a baby and was just wondering will these super long periods ever end?

  7. vanity says:

    Are there any way that you can get pregnant after missing six weeks of depo?

  8. neigh says:

    Hi I’ve been on injection for 6months since sept2011 n I was due for my third on the 14th of feb this yer and iddint go,cz iheard bad stories,I haven’t got my periods bt I’m having abdomal pains,hoping to have my periods back,if I only knew!!me and my fiancee we having unprotected sex,is it possible to get pregnant at this stage?I’ve been out for a month!plz help!

  9. cassie says:

    I had my daughter in Feb. 2010 and got one Depo shot the day after I had her and never went in for another one. Now its been 2 years since I had the shot (2012) and her father and I are trying to conceive again and have had no luck these last few months. Im scared that I can’t get pregnant any more. Does anyone have any answers for me?

  10. Peanut 7 says:

    Okay I was wondering how long does it take for the depo to wear off & can you get pregnant if your on it & your period comes on while having sex ?

  11. carisia says:

    Depo have made my life a living HELL, I only got 1 got, 3 days after I started feeling sick, Dizzy, headachs, palpitations, been in and out †̥ђε ER countless times, been Atmitted a few times, doctors can’t find anything, stress test, Mri, EP study, chest Xtray, EKG,blood work †̥ђε whole works, nothing ώǻ§ found, I never went back for a next shot, I just wonna know how long before these side effects go away? I am FED UP

Trackbacks

  1. [...] realize you have already answered a question about how long it takes Depo to wear off fertility-wise. But I was wondering how long it might take for the side effects of Depo to wear off and if that [...]

  2. [...] As a general rule of thumb I would realistically give yourself a good three to four months of your body adjusting before you can expect things to return back to normal. Also, most women find it hard to conceive right away and it’s a good idea to mentally prepare yourself for this. Again, it depends on you as a person and, to an extent, the type and dose of birth control you were taking during that time. [...]

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