Implanon: FDA approves implantable contraceptive

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Implanon: FDA approves implantable contraceptive

Implanon offers women looking for birth control options a new alternative.

What happened? Women looking for birth control options have a new alternative.

Implanon — an implantable contraceptive that's been sold in other countries since 1998 — was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale in the United States. The matchstick-sized device is implanted by specially trained doctors under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. It releases a low, steady dose of progestin to prevent pregnancy.

The manufacturer says Implanon is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when implanted properly. The implant can be left in place for up to three years and removed at any time.

Implanon can cause irregular menstrual bleeding and spotting. For some women, Implanon stops menstruation entirely. Other side effects may include acne, headaches, breast tenderness and weight changes. Like other hormonal contraceptives, Implanon increases the risk of blood clots — particularly for women who smoke.

What does this mean to you? Implanon is the only implantable contraceptive device currently available in the United States. U.S. distribution of Norplant, another implantable contraceptive, was stopped in 2000 after questions surfaced about the strength of certain lots of the drug. Two years later, the company decided not to reintroduce Norplant to the U.S. market.

Implanon doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases. If you're interested in trying Implanon, ask your doctor if this type of hormonal contraceptive might be right for you.

Last Updated: 07/28/2006
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