Implanon Implant: A Convenient Birth Control Option

by Jamie Harms, M.D.

The Implanon implant is a single-rod Norplant-like birth control device about the size of a toothpick implanted by a certified physician under the skin in a women’s upper arm. It stays in place for 3-years and is forgettable and discreet. It’s a nice form of birth control because it starts working within a couple days of insertion; and should the woman change her mind, she once again becomes fertile soon after the implant is removed.

Implanon’s efficacy is 99%, which is better than that of the pill, primarily due to the simplicity of not having to remember to take a pill every day, since poor adherence to the daily dose of oral contraceptives is usually the most likely reason for failure. It is as effective as male and female surgical sterilization and implantable uterine devices, or IUDs. It’s also more cost-effective than birth control pills; with a monthly cost that is approximately 1/3 lower than that of the pill. Insurance plans that reimburse for birth control, cover Implanon as well.

Implanon is a progestin-only contraceptive product that fills a unique niche that has been empty for the past few years since Norplant was removed from the market. It’s ideal for women who are not planning on having a child soon or who, for medical reasons, cannot tolerate estrogen in their contraceptives. One side effect of the device is irregular menstrual bleeding or no periods at all while using it; outside of that, the side-effect profile of this product is quite good.

The insertion process is a simple, painless procedure that is done in the office and takes but a few minutes. Patients are pleased with the ease of the procedure, and outside of some slight bruising at the point of insertion, there are no adverse effects.

Patients interested in this form of birth control may schedule an appointment with Dr. Harms at 410.643.7800 to perform this procedure at our Queenstown office.

Jamie Harms, M.D.Dr. Harms is a Maryland Primary Care Physicians, LLC partner and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. She received her medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1989 and completed her residency program in Family Practice at University of Maryland Medical Center in 1992.