The researchers measured the participants?bone mineral densities when the study began, and every six months thereafter for the next two to three years. During the course of the study, 61 women stopped using the contraceptive.
The researchers found that DMPA users had a greater reduction in bone density findings than did non-users.
Dr. Scholes explained that these bone density losses seen among the DMPA users occurred at a pace similar to those experienced by women progressing through menopause.
Once the women stopped using DMPA, they experienced significant gains in bone density. The study authors wrote that the increase in bone mineral density after discontinuation of DMPA is similar to the bone mineral density increase after a woman stops breast feeding.
“The potential loss of bone density is one consideration of the many that go into a woman’s choice of contraceptive method,?Dr. Scholes said.
The researchers wrote that it is impossible to know what the women’s bone density would have been if they had never taken the drug. They added, however, that 12 months after these women stopped using DMPA, their average bone mineral density scores were “at least as high as those of the comparison women at all of the anatomical sites.?/p>
The current study was conducted to follow up an earlier study of older women (18-39 years old.) That study found that the older women lost bone density while using DMPA and increased bone mass after discontinuing the contraceptive. However, the younger women in the current study both lost bone density and increased bone density more rapidly than did the older women in the previous study.
“This study provides evidence that DMPA use by adolescents adversely impacts [bone mineral density] at key anatomical sites,?the study authors wrote. “However, these results in teens and those from our previous cohort provide reassurance that bone loss is rega