Maharashtra launches injectable contraceptives for women but how safe are they?

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The Maharashtra government has launched a pilot project to introduce injectable contraceptives to women at hospitals. As part of its family planning programme, Antara, the Devendra Fadnavis government is the first in the country to promote injectable contraceptives. Despite being economical, injectable contraceptives are not widely popular and here is why.

Maharashtra launches injectable contraceptives for women but how safe are they?

Medroxyprogesterone acetate popularly referred to as MPA alters hormones in women slightly to avoid pregnancy. To mark the World Population Day on July 11, the Maharashtra government launched the pilot project making the dosages available to women for free of cost in government hospitals.

We asked experts about the injectable contraceptive and how safe they were. "It is not a new concept and these dosages have been in the market for a long time now. In fact, many women already use it. It is economical and very effective but is not popular even with professionals," said Dr Susheela Rani, a Gynaecologist

Once the injectable contraceptive is administered, it alters hormones mildly and sustains the effect for a long period of time. One dose can have an effect for three months after which a second dosage should be taken. "It is very reasonable and very effective but there are setbacks. It should not be used in adolescent population because it can have an effect on the bones. Another major reason is that it causes irregular bleeding. There is uncertainty over periods," Dr Susheela added.

The slight hormonal changes make it difficult for women to track of menstrual cycles because of irregular periods. Experts also suggested that after the second injection, periods may stop altogether for a period of one year or more.

"Our women are used to having a monthly period and look at it as a detoxification process. They do not feel good about not having regular periods. Another rare side effect of the contraceptive is that it may cause mild depression in few women but it is not common at all," Dr Susheela added.

Doctors worldwide prescribe injectable contraceptive to women simply because they are effective and sustainable. The Maharashtra government's move to promote injectable contraceptive will not only stop unwanted pregnancies but will also provide a platform for doctors to become aware of such measures, experts opined.

While one dose of injectable contraceptive is anywhere between Rs 300 and 350, the government is offering it for free for women. The union government has given Maharashtra 33,000 doses of MPA. The Maharashtra government aims to decrease the rates of maternal deaths and abortion-related maternal deaths with these injectable contraceptives.

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