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Recent research from the Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, found that obese adolescent girls were more likely to gain more weight while using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) contraceptives than if they used oral contraceptives. DMPA monthly injections, also known as Depo-Provera, often are discontinued because of perceived weight gain. The researchers tracked 450 girls aged 12 to 18 years old: 115 girls used DMPA, 175 used oral contraceptives, and 160 acted as the control group. Of the 450 girls, 21% were considered obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. After 18 months, none of the girls using DMPA became pregnant, 10% of the girls using oral contraceptives became pregnant, and 2% of the control group became pregnant. Girls in the DMPA group, however, gained 9.4 kg, compared with 0.2 kg in the oral contraceptive group and 3.1 kg in the control group. Further contraception- use studies are needed to determine a potential link to obesity.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.