Birth Control Implant (Implanon)

What is Implanon?

Implanon, the birth control implant, is a long-acting progestin (hormone) method of birth control. The implant is inserted just under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. The implant provides pregnancy protection for three years. After three years, it must be removed and a new one can be inserted.

How does it work to prevent pregnancy?

Implanon releases a hormone that stops the release of an egg from ovary. The hormone thickens the mucus in cervix and changes the lining of the uterus, which may keep sperm from reaching the egg.

How effective is Implanon in preventing pregnancy and STIs?

When the implant is inserted correctly by an experienced provider, chances of getting pregnant when on Implanon are very low. There is less than one pregnancy per 100 women who use Implanon. Although Implanon prevents against pregnancy, it does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.  

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What are the benefits of using Implanon?

The implant is a safe, convenient, simple, and long-lasting reversible method of birth control. The ability to get pregnant returns quickly when the implant is removed. It can be used while breastfeeding and by women who cannot take estrogen. Other advantages are that there is no medicine to remember to take every day and nothing needs to be put in place before vaginal intercourse.

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What are the side effects?

The most common side effect is a change in thel menstrual bleeding pattern. Other side effects can include mood swings, weight gain, headaches, acne, depressed mood, vaginitis, breast pain, throat infection or flu-like symptoms, stomach pains, painful periods, nervousness, back pain, nausea, dizziness, pain, and/or pain at insertion location

Other rare but serious side effects include:

  • Problems with insertion and removal: The implant could possibly not be inserted at all, or it might fall out, and pregnancy could occur. If the implant is not where it should be, then removal will be extremely difficult and may result in a hospitalization where it can be removed surgically.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: If a woman becomes pregnant while using Implanon, then there is a higher chance that the pregnancy will be ectopic, where the fetus develops outside of the uterus.    
  • Ovarian cysts: Cysts may develop. Some cysts go away on their own while some may need to be surgically removed.
  • Blood clots: Implanon may increase the risk of serious blood clots.
  • Women who use hormonal contraception methods, like Implanon, may be at risk for high blood pressure, gallbladder problems, or tumors in the liver.

Important things to note:

Make sure to tell your provider about any other medications you may be taking, since the use of some other medications while on Implanon may lower its effectiveness.

Immediately after Implanon has been placed, you and your healthcare provider should check that the implant is in your arm by feeling it.

Who should not use Implanon?

You should not use Implanon if...

  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
  • Have had serious blood clots.
  • Have liver disease or a liver tumor.
  • Have unexpected vaginal bleeding.
  • Have breast cancer or any cancer sensitive to progestin.
  • You are allergic to anything in Implanon.
  • You have had or have breast cancer.
  • You smoke. Smoking may increase your risk of developing serious blood clots while on Implanon.

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Where can I get Implanon and how much does it cost?

If you are interested in getting the birth control implant, Health Services can refer you to a local provider who is trained in inserting the implant. It is important that the provider be experienced in inserting correctly, in order to eliminate possible risks or problems with insertion. The cost of the exam, insertion, and implant ranges from $400-800. Removal of an implant costs between $100-300.

Links you can use

For more information about Implanon you can visit:

The manufacturer's website

Planned Parenthood


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