Implanon Discontinued Contraceptive

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As of November 2011, the FDA has approved the use of Nexplanon in the US, a newer version of Implanon. Other than a few minor changes, such that Nexplanon is radiopaque and has a slightly different applicator/insertion procedure, Nexplanon is almost identical to Implanon.


Implanon was a type of birth control implant, receiving FDA-approval in July 2006. This contraceptive implant is a thin rod, 40 mm in length and 2 mm in diameter—about the size of a cardboard matchstick. It was made from a flexible plastic and is inserted just under the skin on the inner side of your upper arm. Implanon is a progestin-only method and provides about 3 years of pregnancy protection. Insertion requires a local anesthetic and only takes a few minutes. The implant can also be removed anytime before the 3 years are up. Implanon does not contain latex or silicone and will not dissolve, so it must be removed.

How It Worked

Implanon continually releases a low dose of etonogestrel (a progestin) to protect against pregnancy for up to 3 years. It contains 68 milligrams of etonogestrel, released over the 3-year period; about 60 to 70 micrograms per day are released in the first year, and the amount decreases over time. After the third year, Implanon will still release some hormone, but it will not be enough to prevent pregnancy.

Side Effects

Besides irregular bleeding, the most frequent side effects causing women to stop using Implanon include mood swings, weight gain, breast tenderness, headache, acne, and depression.

There is a slight risk that you will get a scar from insertion or removal of Implanon.

Possible Complications

Serious problems with Implanon are rare, yet it is critical to report any complications to your doctor right away.

  • Insertion: Sometimes Implanon is not inserted because the implant has fallen out of the needle. After insertion, you should be able to feel the implant under your skin. If you cannot feel it, tell your doctor immediately. Implant site complications were experienced by 3.6% of clinical study participants. Pain was the most frequent implant site complication, reported during and/or after insertion, occurring in 2.9% of subjects. Additionally, hematoma, redness, and swelling were reported by 0.1% to 0.3% of women.
  • Removal: Removal of Implanon could potentially be difficult or impossible due to the implant not being where it should. If Implanon cannot be removed, then its effects will continue for a longer period of time. Removal complications occurred in 1.7% of participants and included: implant couldn’t be felt, broken or damaged implant, difficult localization, and slight movement.

How to Obtain It

You can no longer obtain Implanon. If you are interested in a contraceptive implant, ask your doctor about Nexplanon.


Implanon is 99.9% effective. This means that out of every 100 women who use Implanon in one year, less than 1 will become pregnant with typical use as well as with perfect use.

The effectiveness of Implanon decreases if it has been in place for more than 3 years.

STD Protection

Implanon offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Find a Qualified Implanon Doctor: Implanon has been phased out and replaced by its newer version, Nexplanon. Nexplanon allows for more accuracy during the insertion process and, like Implanon, must be inserted and removed by a trained healthcare provider. Trained healthcare providers have completed a Merck clinical training program on Nexplanon.

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