Implanon Birth Control Effectiveness Questioned After Unwanted Pregnancies

  • Written by: Staff Writers

Recent revelations that nearly 600 women in the U.K. have reported becoming pregnant after being implanted with the Implanon have raised questions among some people about the effectiveness of the birth control implant. 

According to information released earlier this month by the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), 584 women have reported unwanted pregnancies while using Merck & Co.’s Implanon contraceptive implant. In the last 12 years, about 1,600 women have had complaints about the device, including adverse reactions and scarring.

The U.K.’s National Health Services has paid more than $300,000 to nine women who experienced unwanted pregnancies after being implanted with the devices. MHRA officials have said that some of the pregnancies could be due to incorrect implantation of the devices.

The Implanon is a small, toothpick sized implant that is placed just under the skin in a woman’s upper arm. It releases the progestin etonogestrel and is supposed to prevent pregnancy for a three-year period. It is the only contraceptive implant approved in the U.K.

In the United States, Implanon was approved by the FDA in July 2006. Since then about 500,000 American women have had the birth control implant inserted. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Implanon has the highest efficacy rate among all of the current approved means of birth control in the United States.

Merck officials and some British health officials say that concerns about the device are overblown. They point out that there are 1.3 million users in the U.K. and less than 600 reports of unwanted pregnancies, indicating that about .04 percent of all users is in line with the Implanon’s estimated 99.95 percent efficacy rates.

Some doctors in the U.K. are concerned that fears about Implanon effectiveness may have negative effects on teen pregnancy. Implanon is heavily promoted in the U.K. for use in sexually active teenagers because it does not require them to remember to take a pill or insert something and the three-year time period can cover a significant amount of the teen years.

Similar concerns were echoed by a group of Canadian doctors this month, who indicated that mounting fears over the side effects of Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills, manufactured by Bayer, may scare some women away from using oral contraceptives and increase the number of unwanted pregnancies.

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  1. RW Reply

    this is a very concerning matter…

  2. mandi Reply

    I was on implanon for two years, I had it removed may 25th, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant and it hasn’t happened, when we had our first one I was on the pill and he used condoms and we still got pregnant. My point being we are very fertile and now because of implanon I had bleeding and pain and depression and all sorts of side affects. When I got the implant nobody told me about these side affects and now that its out I still have some of them. I am currently seeking legal action, I want to make sure none of this happens to another woman. If ur getting implanon beware of the side affects and research the implant very carefully.

  3. Antonia Reply

    I agree with you mandy I have all the same issues and more with the implanon and all the doctors say I’m fine but a women knows her own body.I can’t find a lawyer to take my case,I’ve been declined from many lawyers and don’t know what to do they all want proof of injury.Wondering what to do about this?I think women should really be warned about this product as I like many was not warned.

  4. Kelley Reply

    My daughter had the implant put in in June of 2010 & was pregnant November of 2010. So it obviously wasn’t good for 3 years. Bloodwork done within 2 weeks of finding out she was pregnant showed no evidence of the hormone that is supposed to prevent pregnancy. She also sought an attorney because it was obviously a defective implant but no luck. On top of things several women who received the same lot number implants ended up pregnant but according to them it’s no fault of theirs! Now 2 months after the birth of her beautiful baby, the implant is still in her arm!

  5. meagan Reply

    hey i have had the implanon for a year and 1/2 and it has caused alot of problems im actually weighing more then i was when i was pregnant because of this implanon and on top of that i have had surgery 3 times and they cant find it at all i have even went to the hospital and was put to sleep so they could find it and they still didnt so im really having alot of problems with it and dont know what to do from here.

  6. Dovie Reply

    Within about six months of having the Implanon implanted in my arm,
    I developed severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed with ovarian
    cysts. I have had numerous attacks of pain since then and been to the hospital ER several times and now have an infection caused by a cyst that developed on my bladder. I had none of these problems before
    the implant. Does anyone know of similar problems or cases in Texas?

  7. Stella Reply

    I redieved the implant april 2010 sence then I hav gained an extreme amount of weight I am normaly 100 to 105 an very toned I now weigh 145 to 150 it has thinned the muscles thru out my body my amune system is very week I now catch ne thing that floats my way when before I never got sick I get pneumonia all the time I use to hav high tolerence to pain now you poke me an it feels like you hit me with a bat an I bruse realy easy now I started having issues not being able to use the restroom properly tried softners an laxitives no help so being backed up caused a lot of stomach pain an shocking feeling in my bottom my limbs felt as if they weren’t getting enough blood going numb all the time I had a stroke I have asthma but sence I started this it has worsened to the max waking up out of a dead sleep gasping for air and my heart feeling like it was going to pound out of my chest I would get body aches like I was just hit by a car could not even move out of bed I wasnt worned of these symptems I had it taken out november 2011 I still hav extreme stomach pain and my finger tips get very cold an go numb I am very worried and am having a hard time getting help

  8. Heather Reply

    I had the implanon put in may 2010 at first everything was fine then come nov 2010 I started getting pain and bruising around the implant. Then in the beginning of dec 2010- Jan 2011 I had my period on and off and when I had it is was heavy and painful. I had called the doc and he said I could have a blood clot in my arm so I went in. He looked at my arm and said well u can leave it in and see what happens I said um no take the damn thing out. So he went to remove it and it was stuck in my arm he had to cut and pull and cut more to get it out. It made my arm get infected and I had to keep going back to make sure it was healing ok. Still to this day I have pain and lumps in my arm where the implant was.

  9. Bessie Reply

    Hey! I’ve used Implanon for 5 years. And I got pregnant 22 times (even though we used Implanon and a condom and spermicide). I opted for a female condom…and have never been pregnant since. Gezzz. How many of you people just blindly read this shit and believe every word of it?

  10. jasmine Reply

    Its sooo sad wat this do to people….. Ive had this product put in Aug 2011 nd it was fine up until about Nov- Dec it seem lik the more stress i got the more bleedin nd stomach pain i got now its to da point where i bleed the whole month of Dec. Thats crazy to a girl dats use to bleedin 3 days out the month,i got mood swings nd all the effects of a pregnant person i wasnt aware of all the side effects from it my doctor olny told me bout part of them…. Man people will do nething for money….

  11. Shakeena Reply

    Well, I’ve had the implanon since July 2009. That was four months AFTER I had my first child. I knew I didn’t want another child anytime soon. Well it is now April of 2012 and the only thing I could complain about is my very unwanted weight gain!! I hate it. But I did not get pregnant again!! Which is all I really asked for.

  12. Destinee Reply

    I have been having a lot of problems with my Implanon. I have already paid to have it removed, but they can’t find mine either. I have had test done at the hospital and they can’t find it, so i’m waiting on the dr to call me back and let me know what the next step will be. This is ridiculous and no one should have to go through all this.

  13. DeAnna Reply

    I had implanaon inserted into me August 16, 2010 and for the first 4months it was okay but all of a sudden I have been bleeding so heavy, i have been to the ER more than once not only that when I bleed i bleed for a whole month now, giant gooey blood cloths are coming out of me, and my cramps are exscruiating pains.The doctor in which i went to has told that if the bleeding continues then they’re gonna have to dilate my uterus and go inside of me and scrape out the thin layer of my womb which in other words i’m never gonna be able to have kids ever in life :'( I think its really sad that no one (doctors) has a cure or remedy for whats happening to me, all i recieve when i go the hospital is motrin pain pills I’ve recently set up an appointment for the removal of implanon hopefully they find mines and remove without any complications.

  14. CHRISTINA Reply

    omg im so glad i came to this link i was lost an dont what to do alot of these sound like the problems im having i got mine 2 9 11 after having my daughter an iv been in an out of the hospital also to differant docters tryn to get someone to take this out my insurance was cut after getting it put in ani have been bleeding for over 3mnths with NIGHTMAREcramps an i dont mean spotting im weak also tired an when i went in the er they found cysts that was never there b4 i have a rash on my chest that wont go away so please if ur reading this THIS IS NOT A JOKE I DNT APPROVE OF THIS AT ALL

  15. Lauren Reply

    I had the implanon put in my arm in August, dr said there WERE NO SIDE EFFECTS. By now, I have put on 5lbs, I don’t normally gain that much very fast because I am very active and very healthy with my vegetarian diet. I have had half if not more of my hair on my head fall out. I constantly have a uti, yeast infections, vaginosis, and the most painful cramps I’ve ever had. I have been bleeding since the implanon was put in. A very heavy period and sometimes thick blood clots. My mood swings are so bad I’ve been snapping at everyone over the smallest things. I now have acne on my face shoulders and back. None of my clothes fit because of the weight gain, and I no longer have a sex life! Yesterday I went to my dr to ask for it to be taken out and to be put on the pill. After telling her all the horrible side effects I am experiencing and even showing her a list of side effects online from the implanon, she tells me that “it’s all in my head and none of these side effects are from the implanon” and not to even talk to her about removing it until at least one year. My health has gone down hill from this garbage. I do not recommend it to ANYONE!!! There needs to be laws for drs that they HAVE to go over any and all possible side effects before implanting this trash!! I now have to find another dr to get it removed.
    DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! If I would have known even half the side effects, I would have never gotten this!!

  16. Britney Reply

    I have had the implanon for two years. I have had four surgeries since ive had it in. I was diagnosed with fibromyalga over active bladder carpal tunnel . I have never felt so sick in my life. I have low iron headaches stomach hurts all the time. I have uncontrollable anger. I had a heavy period for five months started to get indometriosis. My obgyn wants to put me in early menopause to stop the bleeding and endometriosis and im only 28 years old. I cant get off the couch cuz im tired all the time. I just feel like im dying I never feel good and if I could do it all over I would never have gotten the implanon.

  17. Kewanna Reply

    I was on the implanon for 1 yr. Within that time I knew it wasny for me. Uncontrollable bleeding,menstral cramps ive never had prior to the implant…beyond that complete bidy pain. I had it removed oct2009 ,got pregnant march 2010 to an anasyphalic baby(i believevto have happened due to the implanon) march 2010 I was as diagnosed with RA which would explain the bodily pain I experienced…i was only 19! Im now 23!

  18. Jessica Reply

    Hi, I got implanon implanted in my arm a month after my daughter was born in 2011. I started having bad stomach pains and bleeding also my arm was in pain all the time. I called my doctor and told them I wanted it taking out. Since I had it take out in December of 2011 I can’t become pregnant. Me and my husband don’t use protection and still nothing. I think implanon has something to do with this. I also can’t touch my arm where it was implanted at because I have bad pain, my daughter bumps it sometime and I’m in pain. I’ve gained a lot o weight with it even tho it’s out! Around the area where it was in got puffy and a have a big red scar and stretch marks appeared there. Since using this I don’t think I can have anymore kids which that is just horrible!!

  19. Conswella Reply

    To all the ladies whom have posted on this page, I feel your pain. I have had the implanon for two years now and \i have been having issues with it for a little over as year now. After numerous trips to the doctor office and hospitals because of the constant pain my arm is in. \i have had numerous MRI’s, CT Scans, and ultrasounds to try and find the device and to no avail its still hidden. The doctors have gone in to try and find it, I have been sent to several specialists because when the doctor when in to find the device she hit a nerve in my arm so that means \i have constant headaches and arm pain. I WOULD NOT SUGGEST ANYONE TO G ET THIS DEVICE CAUSE THERE ARE SOMETHINGS THAT ARE GOING ON AND EVEN THE DOCTORS DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON and the makers of the device are NO HELP!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Shannon Reply

    I also have the implanon. It expired the beginning of March 2013. When I went to have it removed they couldnt find it in my arm, even with ultrasound. The doctor said that my muscle has grown around it. I cant find a surgeon to take my case because they believe it will cause muscle and nerve damage. So what do I do now? The doctor said to wait it out and see if I become pregnant. My son is now seven and my husband and I wanted to have a baby.This is horrible!!! We get this birth control and are told after 3 years removal is a breeze and now most of us cannot even have anymore babies!!! Something has to be done about this!!

  21. Savannah Reply

    Hello, I have a bit of a problem, I got my IMPLANON taken out about a year+ ago but had it implanted for about a year, my Gynecologist, I believe did not however take the proper procedures putting it in, I am having concerns with my “discharge” its kind of clear with a tint of yellow very light and with the consistency of a Jelly like texture and have very abnormal and painful mistral cycles…I am very concerned, also because me and my husband have been trying to have a child and i am unable to carry past the first trimester of pregnancy, and no one has any clue why i am unable to carry without a miscarriage, I have no insurance anymore and it is very difficult getting a OB/GYN appointment and keep getting denied for ACCESS please tell me what i should do or ids possibly wrong with my body.

  22. Casey Reply

    I had it for 3 years we want to have another baby got it took out they said within 2 weeks ill get pregnant I got pregnant within 48 hours I had my little girl at 23 weeks an I believe it was to do with the birth control she only lived 10 days I just want to kno if I’m the only one it has happened too an I would like to talk to someone about it please an thank you

  23. Genevia Reply

    I had Implanon inserted in my left upper arm and 2011 and when it was time to have it removed they could not find it. they couldn’t find it for quite some time around 6 monthsThey told me that if it wasn’t giving me any problems that I probably shouldn’t worry about finding it. About a month later i retured to the hospital) because My arm was hurting so bad the pain was getting to be unbearable after 3 so m ograms it was located but I was told that it was so close to a major artery that maybe I should just leave it in my arms because the risk is too big to take it out well I tried that and the pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand it and had to go on with the surgery to have it removed . 2 months after the surgery the pain is even worst I could barely lift my right arm nI can barely move my body around from the pain on my left side from the tips of my fingers to the top of my head I have pain with my nerves back neck it’s just ridiculous it’s horrible the medicine that they prescribed for me to put on my arm is not covered by my medical insurance and

  24. Jo Reply

    Worse experience of my life. Got my implanon fitted 7 weeks after i had my lb. A month later i end up with depreasion and axiety i blamed the bar right away, bout 4 months later still bleeding i demanded to have it removed. After a hour search no luck. Went for a scan was located. Went back to my gp she still couldnt find it. She refereed me to a surgeon. 4 months later The surgeon had a we feel and said it feels close to a artery. So send me for another scan. Had a scan today and the implanon is 3ml beside my artery. So weather theyl go trough with the surgery tues to have it removed.

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