A Guide to Medroxyprogesterone Acetate

by The Lowdown · May 24 2021

by Dr Melanie Davis-Hall · September 29, 2021

As an original, first-generation synthetic progestin, medroxyprogesterone acetate has a long and varied history.

Now used only in some contraceptive injections, in the past it played the starring role in hormone therapy for menopausal women, other forms of contraception and even as a treatment for some cancers1.

Controversially, medroxyprogesterone acetate was historically used as a form of male chemical castration which is still used as punishment for some sexual behaviours that are deemed criminal by certain jurisdictions2.

What is it used in?

Contraceptive injection

You can buy Sayana Press injections here at The Lowdown

Is it androgenic?

Yes, but the amount varies. (Check out our ‘Androgens’ blog for more info on what this means).

What are the side effects?

The following side effects have been noted as common or very common when medroxyprogesterone acetate is taken as an injection1 3:

  • Changes to periods including irregular bleeding or stopping periods altogether
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Changes to libido
  • Skin changes at the injection site

  1. Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary (online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press [Accessed on 13 August 2020]
  2. Giordano K. The chemical knife. Salon Health & Beauty. 1 March 2000. Available from:  [Accessed 13 August 2020]
  3. Family Planning Association. Contraceptive injections. Jan 2021. Available at