Generic Name: etonogestrel (implant) (e toe noe JES trel)
Brand Name: Nexplanon
Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Nov 4, 2020.
What is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon (etonogestrel) is a hormone implant that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
Nexplanon is radiopaque implant used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. Etonogestrel is contained in a small plastic rod that is implanted into the skin of your upper arm. The medicine is released slowly into the body.
The Nexplanon rod can remain in place and provide continuous contraception for up to 3 years.
Nexplanon implants contain a small amount of barium sulfate so that the implant can be seen by X-ray.
Do not use Nexplanon if you are pregnant or if you have recently had a baby.
You should not use a Nexplanon implant if you have: undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, if you will be having major surgery, or if you have ever had a heart attack, a stroke, a blood clot, or cancer of the breast, uterus/cervix, or vagina.
Using a Nexplanon implant can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.
Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You should not smoke while using a Nexplanon implant.
Before taking this medicine
Using a Nexplanon implant can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of using this medicine.
Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Your risk increases the older you are and the more you smoke.
Do not use if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, the Nexplanon implant should be removed if you plan to continue the pregnancy.
You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before receiving the implant.
You should not use hormonal birth control if you have:
a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
a history of hormone-related cancer, or cancer of the breast, uterus/cervix, or vagina;
unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor; or
liver disease or liver cancer.
To make sure Nexplanon is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
high cholesterol or triglycerides;
high blood pressure;
an allergy to numbing medicines.
Nexplanon may not be as effective in women who are overweight.
The Nexplanon implant should not be used in girls younger than 18 years old.
Etonogestrel can pass into breast milk, but effects on the nursing baby are not known. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How is the Nexplanon implant used?
Nexplanon is inserted through a needle (under local anesthesia) into the skin of your upper arm, just inside and above the elbow. After the implant is inserted, your arm will be covered with 2 bandages. Remove the top bandage after 24 hours, but leave the smaller bandage on for 3 to 5 days. Keep the area clean and dry.
The timing of when you receive the Nexplanon implant depends on whether you were using birth control before, and what type it was.
You should be able to feel the implant under your skin. Tell your doctor if you cannot feel the implant at any time while it is in place.
The Nexplanon implant can remain in place for up to 3 years. If the implant is placed correctly, you will not need to use back-up birth control. Follow your doctor's instructions.
You may have irregular and unpredictable periods while using Nexplanon. Tell your doctor if your periods are very heavy or long-lasting, or if you miss a period (you may be pregnant).
If you need major surgery or will be on long-term bed rest, or if you need medical tests, may need to have your Nexplanon implant removed for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you have a Nexplanon implant.
Have regular physical exams and mammograms, and self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while using this medicine.
The Nexplanon implant must be removed by the end of the third year after it was inserted and may be replaced at that time with a new implant. After the implant is removed, your ability to get pregnant will return quickly. If the implant is not replaced with a new one, start using another form of birth control right away if you wish to prevent pregnancy.
Call your doctor at once if it feels like the Nexplanon implant may be bent or broken while it is in your arm.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since Nexplanon is given as an implant by a healthcare professional, you will not be on a frequent dosing schedule. Be sure to see your doctor for removal of the implant by the end of the third year.
What happens if I overdose?
If the implant is correctly inserted, an overdose of etonogestrel is highly unlikely.
What should I avoid while taking Nexplanon?
You should not smoke while using a Nexplanon implant.
Nexplanon will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.
Nexplanon side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Nexplanon: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
warmth, redness, swelling, or oozing where the implant was inserted;
severe pain or cramping in your pelvic area (may be only on one side);
signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;
signs of a blood clot - sudden vision loss, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, coughing up blood, pain or warmth in one or both legs;
heart attack symptoms - chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
increased blood pressure - severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;
swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet;
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
a breast lump; or
symptoms of depression - sleep problems, weakness, tired feeling, mood changes.
Common Nexplanon side effects may include:
pain where the implant was inserted;
changes in your menstrual periods;
vaginal itching or discharge;
acne, mood changes, weight gain;
breakthrough bleeding, menstrual cramps;
nausea, stomach pain;
headache, dizziness; or
flu-like symptoms, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Nexplanon?
Certain other medicines or herbal products may make etonogestrel less effective, which could result in pregnancy. You may need to use a non-hormonal form of back-up birth control (such as condoms with spermicide) while you are taking certain medicine, and for up to 28 days after stopping the medicine.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any other medicines you start or stop using, especially:
St. John's wort;
medicine to treat hepatitis C, HIV, or AIDS;
a barbiturate - butabarbital, secobarbital, phenobarbital (Solfoton); or
seizure medicine - carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with etonogestrel, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Nexplanon only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: contraceptives
Other brands: Implanon