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Contraceptive Implant

Effectiveness (Theoretical)
Effectiveness (Real World)

The contraceptive implant is a prescription birth control system consisting of six small, flexible rods containing a synthetic hormone. An in-office surgical procedure using a local anesthetic is required to insert the rods under the skin.

The hormone contained in the rods is slowly released into the body and stops the release of a mature egg.

This method is more than 99% effective. Many women using the implant will stop having their monthly periods. When the rods are removed, normal periods and fertility eventually return. The implant does not have to be taken every day, and can last for up to five years. If inserted at the appropriate time, the implant is effective 24 hours after insertion. The implant can be surgically removed at any time by a health care provider.

The most common side-effect with the implant is irregular bleeding, which may occur for nine months to one year after insertion. Other common side-effects are weight gain, headaches, nervousness, nausea and dizziness. Doctors may not prescribe implants to women who are pregnant or have unusual vaginal bleeding, cancer of the breast, liver disease or blood clotting problems. Implants may not be suitable for women who suffer from depression. The use of the implant may also have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels, increase the possibility of acne, and increase the possibility of cysts on the ovaries. Because the rods are inserted surgically, an infection may occur at the implant placement site. If the implant moves over time, it may be difficult to locate or remove. The cost of this method is high if the rods are removed shortly after insertion. Implants do not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases.

Norplant costs about $700 CDN.

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