To examine weight changes in a large cohort of obese and nonobese adolescent girls initiating depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), an oral contraceptive (OC), or no hormonal contraceptive method (control).
Design, Setting, and Participants
Prospective study of 450 adolescent girls, aged 12 to 18 years, who attended 4 urban health clinics and selected DMPA, OC, or control. Data collection occurred at baseline and at 6, 12, and 18 months; consisted of structured interview and measurement of height and weight; and occurred from April 19, 2000, through September 26, 2003.
Main Outcome Measure
Weight was examined as mean change over 18 months and actual weight at each study visit. On the basis of preliminary analyses, we stratified the sample according to baseline obesity status (nonobese, body mass index [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters] <30; obese, body mass index ≥30).
Adolescent girls who were obese at initiation of DMPA gained significantly more weight than did obese girls starting OC or control (P<.001 for both). At 18 months, mean weight gain was 9.4, 0.2, and 3.1 kg for obese girls receiving DMPA, receiving OC, and control, respectively. Weight gain in obese girls receiving DMPA was also greater than weight gain in all nonobese categories (4.0 kg, DMPA; 2.8 kg, OC; 3.5 kg, control; P<.001). A significant interaction (P = .006) between length of time receiving DMPA and weight gain was evident for obese subjects.
Over 18 months, DMPA use was associated with increasing rates of weight gain in obese subjects. The potential contribution to severe obesity in this population is concerning.