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BellaOnline's Gynecology Editor

Implanon is a Revolutionary Contraceptive for Women

Implanon is the latest in an armamentarium of birth control methods for women. It’s not a new type of contraceptive pill or even another patch. Implanon is a slim implantable rod about the size of a matchstick which releases a hormone that prevents pregnancy into the body. This rod is a soft biodegradable material that has been used in joint prostheses as well. It is inserted beneath the skin in the inner upper arm and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 3 years.

Implanon should be implanted at certain times of the menstrual cycle, based on whether or not the woman has been taking oral contraceptives or not and what type of contraceptive she takes. If she has been taking progestin-only contraceptive pills she may have Implanon inserted at any time and does not have to worry about which day of the cycle she should have the procedure. While Implanon goes to work quickly, it is advisable to use an additional form of contraception for the first 7 days following implantation.

While the device was designed to be effective for up to three years, women can opt to have the device removed prior to this period and studies show that they return to their previous fertile state soon after removal.

Since Norplant was removed since 2000, Implanon will be the only contraceptive implant available for use in the United States. It is made by Organon USA, Inc, a division of Akzo Nobel NV.

Sales are scheduled to begin in August of 2006, or soon thereafter. Physicians who plan to implant Implanon must receive mandatory training from the manufacturer to ensure that the device is used safely and it is as effective as it was designed to be.

Some potential side effects of Implanon:
Irregular bleeding
Missed periods
Painful menstrual cycles
Mood swings
Pain, swelling, or inflammation at site of implantation
Blood clots

Implanon has been used since 1998 in over 30 countries and is deemed to be a safe alternative for those interested in contraception. However, there are some things to keep in mind. Implanon does not prevent the risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. It was designed to prevent pregnancy. Therefore, as is the case with other types of non-barrier contraceptives, safe sex is essential. Use of a latex condom, while not 100% effective, is nonetheless very effective in decreasing the spread of HIV and other venereal diseases.
Smoking and hormonal contraceptives can be a dangerous combination. As a matter of fact, smoking increases the risk of potentially serious side effects of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, if you plan to use Implanon it is imperative that you stop smoking, especially if you are over 25 years of age.
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Content copyright © 2013 by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dr. Denise Howard for details.

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