What is it?

The birth control implant is a slender rod of plastic that contains a form of the hormone progesterone. The implant is about the size of a matchstick. A doctor or nurse inserts it under the skin of your upper arm in an office procedure that only takes a few minutes.

An implant can prevent pregnancy for 4 years.

How well does it prevent pregnancy?

A very effective method of birth control — one of the lowest pregnancy rates of all birth control methods.

Less than 1 out of 100 women using Nexplanon get pregnant in a year of use.


Prevents the monthly release of an egg from your ovaries (ovulation). Progesterone also thickens the mucus in your cervix. This stops sperm from entering the uterus. The lining of the uterus also becomes thinner.


Nexplanon is the only brand available in the United States


  • Very effective birth control.
  • Safe if you can’t use birth control with estrogen because you:
    • Are a smoker over 35
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have had serious side effects from estrogen
  • Safe if you are breastfeeding.
  • May be safe for some — but not all — women who:
    • Have an increased risk of blood clots or stroke
    • Have coronary artery disease
    • Have lupus
  • Sex can be spontaneous.
  • Private.
  • Reversible. Can be removed by a doctor at any time if you want to try to get pregnant. Rapid return to fertility after implant is removed. Periods start again within a month.


  • Bleeding may occur at unpredictable times. This is usually light.
  • You may stop having periods. You’ll need to call your doctor right away if you think you might be pregnant. Signs of pregnancy include breast tenderness and nausea (“morning sickness”).
  • No-go with some health issues or medicines:
    • History of breast cancer, liver cancer, or liver disease
    • Certain seizure medications


Possible side effects are:

  • Acne
  • Headache
  • Mood changes, such as feeling more emotional or depressed

Possible problems at the implant site are:

  • Pain, irritation, or bruising. This usually goes away within a few days.
  • Rarely, infections or nerve damage.
  • Scar tissue. In rare cases, this may make removal difficult.
  • Rarely, implants have come loose or moved into another part of the body. You’ll need to call your doctor if you ever can’t feel the implant in your arm.


  • Can reduce heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, and anemia.
  • Even if you have normal periods, you may bleed less. About 15 out of 100 women stop having periods.
  • May improve:
    • Endometriosis
    • Irregular periods

Use with condom to avoid getting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases or infections, including HIV.

Lasts 4 years

The implant may be less effective in preventing pregnancy if you take certain drugs to prevent seizures. If you take one of these drugs, you should also use condoms.