Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to compare the 12-month continuation rate for women who self-injected subcutaneous depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) with that for women receiving intramuscular depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-IM) from a provider. This research contributes to the broader goal of identifying solutions to support women to use contraception for their full desired duration.
Study design: Participants were clients from 13 clinics in the Dakar and Thiés regions of Senegal who had decided to use injectable contraception prior to enrollment. They chose self-injection of DMPA-SC or provider administration of DMPA-IM. Self-injectors were trained and given three units of DMPA-SC. The provider-injected group received DMPA-IM and returned to the clinics for future injections. We interviewed participants at baseline and after the second, third and fourth injections (the equivalent of 12 months of contraceptive coverage). We employed Kaplan–Meier methods to estimate continuation probabilities, with a log-rank test to compare differences between groups. A multivariate Cox regression identified factors correlated with discontinuation.
Results: The 12-month continuation rate for 650 women self-injecting DMPA-SC was 80.2%, while that for 649 women receiving DMPA-IM from a provider was 70.4% (p<.01). The difference in continuation between self-injectors and those receiving DMPA from a provider remained significant in a multivariate Cox regression model. The primary reason for discontinuation in both groups (44.7% self-injected; 44.5% provider-injected) was forgetting to reinject or reinjecting late. Fewer women reported side effects in the self-injection group than in the provider-administered group.
Conclusions: The higher 12-month continuation rate for women self-injecting DMPA-SC relative to provider-administered DMPA-IM suggests that self-injection may help prevent pregnancy more consistently and continuously.