Merck (MSD outside North America) has announced the availability of the subdermal hormonal contraceptive NEXPLANON 68 mg. This long-acting, progestin-only single-rod hormonal contraceptive is approved by the FDA for pregnancy prevention for up to 3 years. The soft, flexible, matchstick sized polymer is implanted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm with a minor in-office procedure by a healthcare provider. Merck provides clinicians with training on insertion and removal of the device.
NEXPLANON, when inserted correctly, resulted in less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women for 1 year. The progestin in NEXPLANON, etonogestrel, prevents pregnancy via ovulation inhibition, cervical mucus thickening, and endometrium alterations. After insertion, the device should be palpated to confirm location. It is also radiopaque and thus can be located via different imaging modalities such as X-ray or ultrasound.
Of course, the device does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases. The risks, benefits, alternatives, and indications should always be discussed with the healthcare provider prior to insertion.
Press release: Merck Launches NEXPLANON® (etonogestrel implant) 68 mg in the United States
Product info: NEXPLANON… (.pdf)
Flashback: Implanon Under Her Skin