Adverse Effects of Contraceptive Implants
by Joseph D. Tabora, M.D.
This article starts below.
Many women are having their contraceptive implants removed because of severe and/or prolonged side effects. In our study of women with contraceptive implants, there was a maximum of 39 adverse effects experienced by one person, and an average of 13 side effects for the group. The implant is usually inserted beneath the skin of the arm after giving a local anesthetic. After being placed, the implant can be felt like a matchstick just under the skin.
The side effects of contraceptive implants are felt a few weeks to several months after insertion, although there was an incidence of an implant recipient whose blood pressure suddenly increased immediately after insertion, and remained high until the implant was removed.
The most common reasons for removal of the contraceptive implant are: persistent headache, erratic mood swings and dizziness. The adverse effects and their percent incidence among those whose implant was removed is summarized in the table below.
|Table 1. Incidence of adverse effects of etonogestrel 68 mg implant compiled from a checklist accomplished by patients prior to implant removal.|
|Change in libido||66||42%|
|Abnormal uterine bleeding||65||42%|
|Change in bleeding pattern||65||42%|
|Pain in extremity||62||40%|
|High blood pressure||9||6%|
|Updated January 4, 2017|
The top 15 side effects and the percentage occurrence is shown in the chart below:
Implant recipients say that they were not informed of possible adverse effects before the implant was inserted. The 3 most devastating of the possible side effects are: breast cancer, stroke and heart attack. Breast cancer may happen decades after the insertion.
The women with implants also claim that their request for removal of the implant was not granted by the facility where the implant was inserted. The recipients were reportedly told to return on another day for the removal of the implant, but were again told to come back when the scheduled day of removal came.
Women whose implants were removed in the clinic reported a dramatic improvement of their sense of well-being and obtained complete remission of the adverse effects.