What is Implanon?

Implanon is the most effective reversible method of contraception available. It is more than 99.9% effective. It is a contraceptive rod containing the hormone etonogestrel, which is similar to the naturally occurring hormone, progesterone, made by a woman’s ovaries.

It is about the size of a matchstick – four centimetres long and two millimetres wide. It is inserted under the skin of the inner upper arm. Once inserted, it can be felt, but not easily seen.

How is Implanon inserted?

Insertion takes a few minutes, with local anaesthetic used to prevent discomfort. After the anaesthetic wears off (within a few hours), there is usually some soreness and bruising, which settles within a few days.

Implanon can be left in for up to three years before it needs to be removed or replaced.

What are the advantages?

  • Implanon is highly effective, inexpensive and usually easily reversible.
  • You don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, as the hormone is released slowly and continuously into the bloodstream.
  • Bleeding may be lighter and less painful or your periods may stop.
  • When Implanon is removed, the contraceptive effect and any side effects are quickly reversed.
  • It can usually be used if you are unable to use contraception containing oestrogen.
  • Your contraception will not be affected if you have diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Implanon is safe to use if you are breastfeeding.

What are the disadvantages?

  • Implanon can only be removed by doctors who have received specific training. Doctors at Warrandyte Road Clinic are experienced at removing Implanon.
  • You may experience pain and bruising in the area where Implanon is inserted.
  • Your bleeding pattern will change and may be unpredictable.
  • Implanon will not protect you against sexually transmissible infections (STIs). Use condoms to protect yourself against STIs, especially with all new sexual partners.

When does it start working?

If Implanon is inserted during the first five days of a normal period, the contraceptive effect starts immediately.

It can be inserted at other times in your menstrual cycle if pregnancy is ruled out. In this case, it takes seven days to become effective.

What stops Implanon from working?

St John’s Wort (a natural remedy) and some medications (mostly those used to treat epilepsy) may interfere with Implanon. If you are taking any of these remedies or medications, you should discuss this with your doctor or family planning clinic.

Who shouldn’t use Implanon?

Women who have had breast cancer within the last five years and women taking certain medications should not use Implanon.

Women who have had blood clots, heart disease, stroke, liver disease or certain types of migraine will need to consult their doctor, but can usually use Implanon safely.

What are the side effects?

  • All women given Implanon will experience a change in their bleeding pattern.
  • Some will stop having periods completely. This is not harmful, but some women do not like this experience.
  • Some may have irregular bleeding, which may be frequent and unpredictable. This often settles in the first three to four months of use.
  • Some women will have persistent bleeding or spotting.
  • Other possible side effects are acne, breast tenderness, a lower sex drive, increased appetite and headaches.

Is it for me?

Implanon may be right for you if you:

  • want a method that’s ‘fit and forget’
  • want the most effective method available (besides sterilisation)
  • find it hard to remember to take a tablet every day
  • don’t mind some irregular bleeding
  • have painful periods

How Do You Organize to Get Implanon?

We can discuss family planning and contraception options including Implanon with you. If it is the most appropriate option for you, we can insert and remove Implanon for you in the comfort of our clinic’s fully-equipped procedure room.