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Contraceptive implant

What is it?

The contraceptive implant is a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and contains the hormone progestogen. It is a long-term method of contraception that lasts for up to three years. The small flexible rod which is 4cm long is inserted just underneath the skin in the upper arm by a trained healthcare professional.

This method does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

The Implant How does it work?

The implant works by:

  • Stopping the ovaries releasing an egg
  • Thickening the mucus of the cervix to act as a barrier to sperm
  • Stopping a fertilised egg settling by keeping the lining of the womb thin

The Implant How effective is it?

Once in place the implant is over 99% effective.

What are the benefits?

  • You do not have to remember to take a pill every day
  • You are protected against pregnancy for up to three years
  • Fertility normally returns quickly after removing the implant
  • Does not interrupt sex
  • May be suitable for breastfeeding women
  • Hormones do not have to go through the stomach so contraceptive protection is not affected by sickness or diarrhoea

The ImplantWomen may not be able to/may not want to use it if they:

  • Don't want any changes to their periods
  • Don't want to have a small procedure to fit and remove the implant

Women should not use it if they:

  • Have, or might have cancer of the breast or reproductive organs
  • Have active liver disease
  • Have had a heart attack or stroke
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Might be pregnant
  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients in the implant
  • Have had a thrombosis (blood clot in a blood vessel)

The Implant Possible side-effects?

As with all medicines side effects can occur but not all women will experience side-effects. Side effects may include:

  • Changes in body weight.
  • Irregular, more frequent, absent or heavier periods
  • Increased chance of getting spots
  • Headaches
  • Tender or painful breasts

The Implant What if......?

I have heavy or prolonged periods?

Like with other progestogen only contraceptives your periods may change. If this occurs contact your healthcare professional who will be able to help.

I forget to book my three year appointment for my implant to be replaced?

It is important to have your implant changed at the right time. If it is not, you will not be protected against pregnancy.

I want to become pregnant?

The implant can be removed at any time by a trained healthcare professional. Your periods and normal fertility will usually return quickly. Ideally you should wait for one period before trying to get pregnant. Waiting means the pregnancy can be dated more accurately, and you can seek some pre-pregnancy advice from your healthcare professional.

Remember: Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or are worried / unsure about anything to do with your contraception.

Have you decided which might be the right contraception for you? If not check out the other choices, if you have, jump to Step3: How do I change?

© 2015 Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. All rights reserved.

Job code: WOMN-1160817-0000

Date of preparation: September 2015

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