Implanon is one of the novel implantable contraceptives which contains etonogestrel as an active substance. Etonogestrel is one of the progestins (synthetic progesterone analogues) which are gradually released from the implant, so that its optimal concentration can be achieved. It has been used widely across the world, showing significant effects in terms of contraception.
Although the sufficient dose to prevent pregnancy is 20-30 ug of etonogestrel per day, the dose released into the bloodstream from the Implanon implant is much higher (about 70 ug/day), but it decreases with time to the point of 30 ug/day. Here we discuss the efficacy and side effects of Implanon, based on current evidences.
Insertion And Removal Of Implanon
Insertion of Implanon is a very quick procedure, and it is performed in approximately 30 seconds. Rarely, the implant can break in two or more pieces while beneath the skin, in which case the removal can be a bit difficult. In most cases, removal of Implanon is a very simple process taking about 3.5 minutes. Infections and complications on the site of insertion are extremely rarely reported.
Efficacy And Safety Of Implanon
Studies have shown a high level of efficacy of this implant. In one study which included 330 women, there were no pregnancies while using Implanon, and pregnancies were noted in women even during the first week after removal of the implant. In a small number of subjects, there were cases of mild vaginitis during the use of Implanon, but no other complications were found. This product is generally considered safe. Additionally, improvement of fibrocystic changes of breast tissue have been found, due to beneficial effects of etonogestrel on glandular structures of the breast.
Side Effects Of Implanon
The most common side effects of Implanon use include: headache, vaginitis, acne, dysmenorrhea, emotional instability, weight gain, depression, and urinary tract infections. Headache issues were mild and decreased with longer use. There are controversial opinions about the effects of Implanon on acne. Namely, in one study, 16 percent of patients reported decreased acne, while in 14 percent acne became worse than before. In 43 percent of patients, no changes in acne expression were noticed. In 25 percent of cases, women using Implanon experienced painful menstruation called dysmenorrhea. Irregular cycles may sometimes occur.
In general, etonogestrel has shown beneficial effects on the lipid status. Women using Implanon had lower triglyceride and total cholesterol blood levels. The level of LDL (the bad cholesterol) was not affected by etonogestrel, according to results of the studies. Slight weight gain was noticed in some individuals, but not to a significant extent. Lower blood pressure was noticed in persons using Implanon.
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