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Implanon Implantable Device Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an implantable contraceptive and abortifacient device called Implanon. Implanon is made by Organon USA, Inc.

Implanon is an off-white, non-biodegradable, etonogestrel-containing single sterile rod implant for subdermal use. The implant is 4 cm long with a diameter of 2 mm. Each Implanon rod consists of an ethylene vinylacetate copolymer core, containing 68 mg of the synthetic progestin etonogestrel, surrounded by an EVA copolymer skin.

A doctor inserts the prescription-only device under a woman's skin in her arm. It is designed to work for 3 years.

Implanon is a progestin-only device and does not contain estrogen. Implanon works by suppression of ovulation, increased viscosity of cervical mucus and alterations in the endometrium (lining of the uterus in which an embryo would normally implant).

The FDA notes that Implanon "may be less effective in women who are overweight or who are taking medications that induce lever enzymes."

Thirty other countries have permitted the use of Implanon for as long as 8 years. Women who use Implanon are more prone to spotting at unpredictable times.

Implanon has similarities to Norplant, which was pulled off the market in 2000 after a decade of availability in the USA. Norplant was a product consisting of 6 rods placed under a woman's skin, designed to work for 7 years.
[Family Foundations, Sept/Oct 2006]