Contraceptive implants: current perspectives
Sam Rowlands,1,2 Stephen Searle3
1Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education, School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom; 2Dorset HealthCare, Bournemouth, United Kingdom; 3Sexual Health Services, Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Abstract: Progestin-only contraceptive implants are a highly cost-effective form of long-acting reversible contraception. They are the most effective reversible contraceptives and are of a similar effectiveness to sterilization. Pregnancies are rare in women using this method of contraception, and those that do occur must be fully investigated, with an ultrasound scan of the arm and serum etonogestrel level if the implant cannot be located. There are very few contraindications to use of implants, and they have an excellent safety profile. Both acceptability and continuation with the method are high. Noncontraceptive benefits include improvements in dysmenorrhea, ovulatory pain, and endometriosis. Problematic bleeding is a relatively common adverse effect that must be covered in preinsertion information-giving and supported adequately if it occurs. Recognized training for both insertion and removal should be undertaken. Care needs to be taken at both insertion and removal to avoid neurovascular injury. Implants should always be palpable; if they are not, noninsertion should be assumed until disproven. Etonogestrel implants are now radiopaque, which aids localization. Anticipated difficult removals should be performed by specially trained experts.
Keywords: contraceptive, subdermal implant, etonogestrel, levonorgestrel, progestin-only, long-acting reversible contraception
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