Sayana Press vs Depo Provera; what is the best contraceptive injection?

Depo -Provera and Sayana Press are similar in many ways, but what are the differences?

The contraceptive injection is a popular contraceptive, and because of it’s longevity and practicality, it is a firm favourite amongst many females.

So which is the best contraceptive injection?

Of course, when it comes to contraception the options are endless, and when it comes to the hormonal injection this certainly isn’t an exception. There are two different types of injection, Depo-Provea and Sayana Press. These two contraceptives have very similar side effects and method, however, differ when it comes to insertion. This post will explain everything you need to know.

What is Depo Provera?

Depo-Provera is a brand name for medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). A contraception injection that contains the hormone progestin, a type of man-made hormone. It is a highly effective method of preventing pregnancy and must be injected every three months. It works by suppressing ovulation and keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg, as well as thickening cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

What is Sayana Press?

Sayana Press is a white sterile liquid. Each dose contains the hormone Progesterone in a solution that contains macrogol, methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218), propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216), sodium chloride, polysorbate 80, monobasic sodium phosphate monohydrate, disodium phosphate dodecahydrate, methionine, povidone, sodium hydroxide and/or hydrochloric acid for pH adjustment and water for injection.

How do I use Depo Provera and Sayana Press?

Depo Provera must be injected by a health care provider. Your doctor or nurse will do some tests to make sure that you can have the injection. They check your medical history, make sure that you’re not pregnant and take your blood pressure.

You can have the injection at any time in your period cycle. If you have it within the first five days of your cycle, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. Any other time in your cycle and you’ll need to use condoms or other contraception for seven days.

You can have the injection straight after giving birth, or after having an abortion or miscarriage. If you’re breastfeeding, the injection will usually be given six weeks after giving birth.

You will be given the injection as you would a standard jab – Depo-Provera is injected into a muscle, usually in your buttocks and can also sometimes be given in the arm. It must be inserted by a trained healthcare provider.

Sayana Press is injected beneath the skin at the front of the thigh or abdomen. It’s possible for you to be taught how to inject Sayana Press yourself at home but not all GPs and clinics currently offer this.

After the injection has been given you only need to go back to your doctor or nurse if you have any problems or when you need a new injection. If you are using the Sayana Press (which you inject yourself at home) you only have to go back to the clinic annually because you will be given a years supply. 

How do I stop using Depo Provera and Sayana Press?

A word of caution about the contraceptive injection – it can take several months and even a year for the hormones to to leave your system and for your fertility to return to normal.

To stop, all you need to do is not have your next injection – if you don’t want to get pregnant then you should use another method of contraception from the day that your injection would’ve been due.

Check out our survey results to see how long it took most women’s cycles to return to their definition of ‘normal’ after their injections, and learn about after-effects they’ve experienced.

How effective are they?

Both contraceptive injections are 99% effective and a highly effective method of birth control. However the percentage decreases if you do not receive the injection at the right time.

Sayana Press and Depo Provera side effects

Both contraceptive injections have very similar side effects.

Side effects include:

  • headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • decrease in sex drive
  • weight gain, which can be more common the longer you use it

Less common side effects of this contraceptive injection include:

  • acne
  • bloating
  • hot flushes
  • insomnia
  • achy joints
  • nausea
  • sore breasts
  • hair loss
  • depression

Though rare, serious side effects can occur. You should seek immediate medical attention if you start having the following symptoms while you’re on the birth control shot:

  • major depression
  • pus or pain near the injection site
  • unusual or prolonged vaginal bleeding
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • breast lumps
  • migraines with aura, which is a bright, flashing sensation that precedes migraine pain

The most noted difference by Lowdown users was 62% of Sayana Press users said it stopped there periods, compared to 71% of Depo-Provera.

What do our users say about Depo Provera?

“The contraceptive injection turned me insane! I noticed a change in mood within a matter of hours and was crying at daytime TV. The side effect lasted the full 3 months of the injection cycle and about another month after I’d come off it. I had bad mood swings and felt extremely emotional almost all the time! Also I couldn’t walk up the stairs after I had the injection, as it is injected at the top of your thigh/bum. I could feel the gel slightly through the skin too.”

“Years on injections Loved the ease & convenience of no periods, no hormonal mood swings But after ongoing years of also having lower back issues of pains & cramps turns out it was the injection! Doctors didn’t believe me and I even went on to have the injection in the arm to rule out any tissue damage from having the injection in the bum! Don’t use if you’re planning on starting a faintly in the very near future either. It took a full year for my periods to return after the last injection. Post children I gave it one more go to see if it was any different post children. But the back pain returned 24hrs after injection!! Have been off the injection for 4 years and zero pain!”


Sayana Press and Depo Provera are both contraceptive injections. Sayana Press is a newer version of Depo Provera and are similar in many ways, the main difference being that Sayana Press is injected yourself, whereas Depo Provera must be injected by a trained medical professional.

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

Why not leave us a review of your contraceptive experience? Whether you’ve got good things to say about the Mirena coil or had trouble with implant removal, we want to hear about it! Tell us about your experience and help people around the world find the right method for them.