What is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is a birth control implant that is roughly the size of a matchstick. The rod-shaped implant is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm, where it slowly releases 68-mg of etonogestrel, a synthetic type of progestin, which is a female reproductive hormone.
How Does Nexplanon Work?
Nexplanon is very effective at preventing pregnancy, and it does so in several ways. Nexplanon increases the amount of cervical mucous, which makes it difficult for a sperm to enter the uterus. It also inhibits ovulation, which reduces the chance that a sperm that makes it into the uterus will fertilize an egg.
Is Nexplanon Different From Implanon?
Yes. Nexplanon is a newer version of Implanon. Both medications contain the same amount of hormones (68-mg of etonogestrel). They also have the same side effects, risks, health benefits, and duration of effectiveness. One major difference is that Nexplanon contains barium-sulfate, which is non-toxic to the human body because it cannot be absorbed. This is a useful upgrade, because a healthcare professional can use an X-ray or CT scan to locate the Nexplanon device after it is implanted. Another upgrade is the Nexplanon insertion applicator is more user-friendly, which reduces the risk of implantation errors.
Nexplanon and Blood Clots
Blood clots are a serious side effect of Nexplanon. They often form deep inside veins located in the legs, thigh, or pelvis, in a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Women who suffer from DVT may have severe venous damage. If parts of the blood clot break off, they can also get trapped in the lungs and cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Blood clots that form in arteries can cause a heart attack, cardiac event, stroke, severe disability, or death.
Studies of Health Risks From Nexplanon
A Danish study was published in the British Medical Journal in November of 2011, which associated Nexplanon and Implanon with a 40% increased risk of blood clots compared to women who did not use hormonal birth control. The researchers also found that many other non-oral hormonal contraceptives were associated with a significantly increased risk of blood clots.
The researchers based their conclusions on a massive study of data gathered on Danish women who were between the ages of 15-49, from 2001 through 2010. The women involved in the study had no history of cancer, blood clots, and were not pregnant.
Only IUDs (uterine implants) were not associated with an increased risk of blood clots.
Nexplanon Linked to Cardiac Events
One of the most severe side effects of Nexplanon is a blood clot, which can cause heart attacks, cardiac events, pulmonary embolisms, hospitalization, or death. All Nexplanon users are at risk of blood clots. Other risk factors that increase the chances of a blood clot include smoking, being over 35 years old, and having a history of venous disorders.
Nexplanon Side Effects
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Cardiac event
- Pulmonary embolism