TEMPE, Ariz. The birth control shot Depo Provera offers a convenient alternative for women who don't want to remember to take a daily pill. Ironically, research from Arizona State University has shown the shot actually may impair a person's memory.
The ASU study connects medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), the hormone active in Depo Provera and many widely used menopausal hormone therapies, to impaired memory in rodents. The study is currently in press in the journal Psychopharmacology. An early on line version of the article is available at http://www.springerlink.com/content/53357212117581w6/.
The study was led by Blair Braden, an ASU psychology doctoral student, and Heather Bimonte-Nelson, an ASU associate professor of psychology and director of the Bimonte-Nelson Memory and Aging Lab. The work was done in collaboration with Laszlo Prokai from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, Fort Worth, Tex., and Alain Simard from Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix.
The Bimonte-Nelson lab first linked MPA to memory loss in rats while studying it as a component of hormone therapy for menopause. This earlier study showed that MPA impaired memory in menopausal-aged rats, and results were published in the November 2010 issue of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. The current study specifically looks at the drug in relation to the birth control shot.
Bimonte-Nelson said she and Braden began asking questions about the effects of the drug because Braden was concerned about friends taking MPA as a contraceptive.
"This is an important question, because what we are going to have in our future are women who are menopausal that also have a history of taking MPA as birth control when they were younger," said Bimonte-Nelson.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration originally approved Depo Provera for use in October 1992. It requir
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Arizona State University