Depo-Provera

Synthetic hormone injection which prevents pregnancy for three months at a time. Although the contraceptive method had been used around the world by some 15 million women since the late ’60s, FDA approval for the U.S. did not come until 1992.

At $30 per injection, DP is cheaper in up-front costs than the $600, five-year implant Norplant, and it lacks the latter’s telltale physical evidence. In March 1994 Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders accused DP’s maker Upjohn and Norplant’s maker Wyeth-Ayerst of profiteering at the expense of unwanted pregnancies: “the price of Norplant and Depo Provera is too high in this country for a large portion of working poor women to realize contraceptive equality.”

India and Mexico have been experimenting for years with once-a-month injections–Cyclofem and Mesigyna–that tend to be less disruptive to the menstrual cycle. Depo-Provera, which is closely related to progesterone (a female hormone that can lower the sex drive), is also used to “chemically castrate” convicted sex offenders.

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