Implanon - Contraceptive rod

This contraceptive is a thin, soft plastic rod that is implanted directly beneath the skin on the inside of the upper arm. Implanon is smaller than a matchstick – 4 cm long and 2 mm thick. The active ingredient etonogestrel, a progestin-hormone, is stored in the plastic of the rod and is released continuously in small quantities .

Mode of action:
The progestin (etonogestrel) suppresses monthly ovulation and changes the cervical mucus so that it becomes more difficult for the sperm to penetrate the uterus. Only in isolated cases can sperm overcome this barrier. The hormone also alters the uterine lining and makes it more difficult for the fertilised egg cell to implant.

Duration of use: 3 years

Possible side effects and complications:
As with all hormonal contraceptives, there can be unwanted side effects such as acne, weight gain, breast tenderness and harmless ovarian cysts. Irregular bleeding or spotting is also possible and periods often do not occur at all.


Effectiveness: Very high effectiveness with a Pearl index of less than 0.1

Contraception is ensured for the long term without the risk of errors in taking the hormone as may occur with oral contraceptives (e.g. the pill or the mini-pill). The active ingredient moves straight to the blood stream and the gastrointestinal tract is not involved, which means the efficacy is not affected by diarrhoea or vomiting. Implanon does not contain oestrogen like the pill..

Taking the mini-pill (e.g., Cerazette) for three months before inserting Implanon can be used to test whether a progestin-only contraceptive will be well tolerated. If this is the case, the contraceptive rod is inserted between the 1st and 5th day of the cycle. The contraception is then immediately effective.   Implanon is inserted using local anaesthetic with the help of a special insertion syringe. Generally, the inside of the upper arm is the site of choice – for right-handers, the left arm and for left-handers the right.

If a new rod is requested after 3 years, the new rod is simply inserted in the same site as the old one..


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