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The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommended last week a new set of guidelines for physicians prescribing the birth-control injection Depo Provera. The recommendations include asking that doctors weigh heavily the benefits and potential risks of the drug before writing prescriptions.

Research has confirmed that use of [Depo Provera] is associated with a decrease in bone-mineral density, though this decrease has not been shown to result in adverse outcomes such as osteoporosis or fractures. There is also evidence that the majority of this bone-loss is temporary, as bone-mineral density is regained once the contraceptive is stopped.

A similar loss and recovery of bone-mineral density is experienced by women who breastfeed their children, who may lose 4% – 5% of their bone-mineral density after breastfeeding over six months. This density is then recovered once breastfeeding is discontinued.

Along with weighing risks and benefits, Canadian authorities recommend medical professionals also inform women of potential bone loss while on the drug and counsel patients about maintaining bone health with the use of supplements such as Vitamin D and calcium.

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