5 Jan 2011

Implanon contraceptive: what to do if you are worried

The Family Planning Association tells Channel 4 News the Implanon contraceptive is safe and effective despite figures showing nearly 600 women have fallen pregnant after receiving the implant.

Figures obtained by Channel 4 News reveal that 584 women who had the hormone-filled tube inserted into their arms have reported unwanted pregnancies to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

NHS Trusts have been forced to offer settlements to seven women totalling nearly £200,000.

Channel 4 News asked Lynn Hearton, FPA Helpline and Information Services Manager, what worried women should do.

Should I go to my doctor if I have had an Implanon implant?

You do not need to speak to your doctor unless you are very worried and need to have your mind put at rest.

As long as you can feel the implant, there is no cause for concern. The implant is still a very popular, safe and reliable method of contraception.

No method is 100 per cent effective but only a tiny number of women using the implant have got pregnant.

If you are worried you can call the Family Planning Association helpline 0845 122 8690 or speak to the clinic or general practice that you got your implant from.

Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of Implanon.

Can I get my Implanon implant removed easily?

Yes, it is removed quickly and easily but you will need to make an appointment.

Do not try and take the implant out yourself. Do think about what contraception you want to use when it is taken out as your fertility will return straight away.

What are the risks of becoming pregnant even if I have used Implanon?

The implant is over 99 per cent effective which means that less than 1 in 1,000 women using it over three years will become pregnant. It is still a very reliable method.

What options are there other than Implanon?

There are 15 methods of contraception to choose from – many new and improved methods are on offer for women of all reproductive ages. Go to My Contraception Tool at the Family Planning Association website to help you choose.

Will the replacement for Implanon, Nexplanon, be any different?

It won’t be any different for women using it, as it is still the same implant.

It will be better for health professionals as the fitting device is easier to use, reduces needle stick injuries and can be seen on an X-ray.