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Drugs reference index «Implanon»



Generic Name: etonogestrel (Intradermal route)


Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Implanon

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Implant

Therapeutic Class: Contraceptive, Progestin

Pharmacologic Class: Progestin

Uses For Implanon

Etonogestrel implant is a medicine that is used in women to prevent pregnancy. It is a form of birth control. This medicine is made of a hormone mixed in a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick. It is effective for three years when inserted just beneath the skin of your upper arm .

Etonogestrel implant will not protect a woman from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The use of latex (rubber) condoms or abstinence (not having sex) is recommended for protection from these diseases .

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription .

Before Using Implanon

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of etonogestrel implant in women less than 18 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established .


Adequate and well-controlled studies have not been done in women over 65 years of age. This medicine is not intended for use in this population .

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Isotretinoin
  • Theophylline

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alprazolam
  • Ampicillin
  • Amprenavir
  • Aprepitant
  • Bacampicillin
  • Betamethasone
  • Bexarotene
  • Bosentan
  • Carbamazepine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Darunavir
  • Efavirenz
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Griseofulvin
  • Lamotrigine
  • Licorice
  • Modafinil
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nevirapine
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Rifampin
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Rufinamide
  • St John's Wort
  • Topiramate
  • Troglitazone
  • Troleandomycin
  • Warfarin

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

  • Caffeine

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Abnormal or unusual vaginal bleeding (non-menstrual) or
  • Breast cancer (now or in the past or if suspected) or
  • Liver disease (active) or
  • Liver tumors—This medicine should not be used in patients with these conditions .
  • Blood clots (now or in the past)—This medicine should not be used in patients with blood clots in the brain, legs, lungs, eyes, or heart .
  • Depression, or history of, or
  • Diabetes or
  • Gallbladder disease or
  • High blood pressure or
  • High cholesterol—This medicine may make these conditions worse .
  • Obesity—This condition may cause the medicine to not work as well .

Proper Use of Implanon

It is very important that you tell your doctor if you think you might be pregnant or if you missed a period before you receive this medicine. Tests will be done to make sure you are not pregnant before this medicine is inserted .

This medicine comes with patient instructions. After reading the instructions, you will be asked to sign a USER CARD and Patient Consent Form before you receive this medicine. The Consent Form tells you about some possible risks when using this medicine, and when it must be removed. Make sure you understand what is in the patient instructions and the Consent Form before you sign it. Keep the USER CARD in a safe place at home with your health records. If you have any questions, ask your doctor to answer them .

After this medicine is inserted, you should check that it is in place. Gently press your fingertips over the skin in your arm where this medicine was inserted. You should be able to feel the small rod .

Use another form of birth control (such as condoms, spermicides, or a diaphragm) until the implant has been in place for seven days .

Your doctor must remove this medicine after three years. If you would like to stop using this medicine, your doctor can remove it at any time .

If you still want to prevent pregnancy after this medicine is removed, you should start using another form of birth control (such as condoms, spermicides, or a diaphragm) right away. If you still want to continue using this medicine, your doctor can insert a new implant under your skin after taking the old one out .

Precautions While Using Implanon

If you will be using the etonogestrel implant for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any problems or unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

If you become pregnant while using this medicine, you have a slightly higher chance of having an ectopic pregnancy (occurs outside the womb). Ectopic pregnancies can cause serious internal bleeding. Contact your doctor immediately to have the implant removed .

Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed. You may start using this medicine if you had a baby more than four weeks ago .

Etonogestrel implant will not protect you against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. The use of latex (rubber) condoms or abstinence (not having sex) is recommended for protection from these diseases .

Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to numbing medicines (anesthetics) or skin cleansers (antiseptics). These medicines will be used when etonogestrel implant is inserted into your arm .

If you wear contact lenses and you have blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision while using this medicine, check with your doctor right away. Your doctor may want you to get your eyes checked by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) .

This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests, or if you have any questions, check with your doctor .

Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using etonogestrel implant. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine .

Implanon Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Breast pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches and pain
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • shivering
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
Less common
  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at injection site
  • bloating
  • blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • breast discharge
  • breast enlargement
  • burning while urinating
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • headache, severe and throbbing
  • hives
  • itching
  • lumps in breasts
  • nervousness
  • noisy breathing
  • painful or tender cysts in the breasts
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • stomach or pelvic discomfort, aching, or heaviness
  • swelling of hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • tightness in chest
  • wheezing
  • Collection of blood under the skin at injection site
  • deep, dark purple bruise at injection site

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Back pain
  • blemishes on the skin, pimples
  • body aches or pain
  • crying
  • depersonalization
  • discouragement
  • dysphoria
  • ear congestion
  • euphoria
  • feeling sad or empty
  • hoarseness
  • increased clear or white vaginal discharge
  • increased weight
  • irregular bleeding cycle
  • irritability
  • itching of the vagina or genital area
  • light vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual periods
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • loss of voice
  • mental depression
  • nasal congestion
  • pain, cramps, or heavy menstrual bleeding
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • paranoia
  • quick to react or overreact emotionally
  • rapidly changing moods
  • stomach pain
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • trouble concentrating
  • voice changes
Less common
  • Abdominal bloating and cramping
  • abnormal ejaculation
  • abnormal or decreased touch sensation
  • acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bone pain
  • burning feeling in chest or stomach
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty in moving
  • dull ache or feeling of pressure or heaviness in legs
  • earache, redness or swelling in ear
  • excess air or gas in stomach or intestines
  • feeling of vaginal pressure
  • feeling of warmth
  • hair loss or thinning of hair
  • heartburn
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increased appetite
  • increased hair growth on forehead, back, arms, and legs
  • indigestion
  • itching skin near damaged veins
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • muscle cramping or stiffness
  • passing gas
  • pelvic pain
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally upper chest
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sleeplessness
  • sneezing
  • stomach upset or pain
  • stuffy nose
  • swollen joints
  • tenderness in stomach area
  • unable to sleep
  • vaginal burning or pain
  • weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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  • Implanon Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Implanon Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)
  • Implanon Consumer Overview
  • Etonogestrel Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)

See Also...

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