Background: Subcutaneous depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) offers the possibility of self-administration. Study Design: This is a pilot study of self-administration of DMPA-SC. Existing users of the intramuscular preparation (DMPA-IM) who wished to self-inject (n=64) were taught self-administration using DMPA-SC. The main outcome was the continuation rate of the method at 12 months compared to a control group of existing users of DMPA-IM (n=64) who continued to attend a clinic to receive the method. Women’s satisfaction with the method and the proportion of self-injections given at correct time were also determined.
Results: The 12-month discontinuation rate of the DMPA-SC group (12%) did not differ significantly from that of the DMPA-IM group (22%) (95% confidence intervals of 13%–33% and 6%–23% for DMPA-SC and DMPA-IM, respectively; p=.23). All self-injections were given within the appropriate interval. There was no significant difference in the proportion of women in either group who were satisfied with the method.
Conclusion: Self-administration of DMPA-SC for contraception is feasible and is associated with similar continuation rates and satisfaction to clinician-administered DMPA-IM.
Depo-Provera (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, or DMPA) is an important contraceptive option for women worldwide. Currently, it is only available in intramuscular form requiring regular quarterly routine attendance at a health facility. A new subcutaneous preparation has been developed. This is self-administrable and could potentially reduce need for routine attendance to an annual visit.
In a questionnaire survey of 176 women currently using DMPA, 67% would prefer to self-administer. Of the 33% who did not wish to self-administer, the most common reasons were a fear of needles (62%) and concern regarding incorrect administration (43%). In a second survey of 313 women not currently using DMPA, 64% of women said they would prefer to attend less often for contraceptive supplies. Twenty-six percent of women who had never used DMPA and 40% of ex-users would seriously consider DMPA if self-administration were possible.
Our findings would suggest that the advent of subcutaneous self-administrable Depo-Provera with appropriate training and reminder system is likely to be beneficial and popular with many women.