Prescription Drug Information: Nexplanon (Page 3 of 7)


NEXPLANON should not be used in women who have

  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Current or past history of thrombosis or thromboembolic disorders
  • Liver tumors, benign or malignant, or active liver disease
  • Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
  • Known or suspected breast cancer, personal history of breast cancer, or other progestin-sensitive cancer, now or in the past
  • Allergic reaction to any of the components of NEXPLANON [see Adverse Reactions (6)]


The following information is based on experience with the etonogestrel implants (IMPLANON and/or NEXPLANON), other progestin-only contraceptives, or experience with combination (estrogen plus progestin) oral contraceptives.

5.1 Complications of Insertion and Removal

NEXPLANON should be inserted subdermally so that it will be palpable after insertion, and this should be confirmed by palpation immediately after insertion. Failure to insert NEXPLANON properly may go unnoticed unless it is palpated immediately after insertion. Undetected failure to insert the implant may lead to an unintended pregnancy. Complications related to insertion and removal procedures, such as pain, paresthesias, bleeding, hematoma, scarring or infection, may occur.

If NEXPLANON is inserted deeply (intramuscular or in the fascia), neural or vascular injury may occur. To help reduce the risk of neural or vascular injury, NEXPLANON should be inserted subdermally just under the skin at the inner side of the non-dominant upper arm overlying the triceps muscle about 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) from the medial epicondyle of the humerus and 3-5 cm (1.25-2 inches) posterior to (below) the sulcus (groove) between the biceps and triceps muscles. This location is intended to avoid the large blood vessels and nerves lying within and surrounding the sulcus. Deep insertions of NEXPLANON have been associated with paresthesia (due to neural injury), migration of the implant (due to intramuscular or fascial insertion), and intravascular insertion. If infection develops at the insertion site, start suitable treatment. If the infection persists, the implant should be removed. Incomplete insertions or infections may lead to expulsion.

Implant removal may be difficult or impossible if the implant is not inserted correctly, is inserted too deeply, not palpable, encased in fibrous tissue, or has migrated.

There have been reports of migration of the implant within the arm from the insertion site, which may be related to deep insertion. There also have been postmarketing reports of implants located within the vessels of the arm and the pulmonary artery, which may be related to deep insertions or intravascular insertion. Some cases of implants found within the pulmonary artery were associated with chest pain and/or respiratory disorders (such as dyspnea, cough, or hemoptysis); others were asymptomatic. In cases where the implant has migrated to the pulmonary artery, endovascular or surgical procedures may be needed for removal.

If at any time the implant cannot be palpated, it should be localized, and removal is recommended.

Exploratory surgery without knowledge of the exact location of the implant is strongly discouraged. Removal of deeply inserted implants should be conducted with caution in order to prevent injury to deeper neural or vascular structures in the arm and be performed by healthcare professionals familiar with the anatomy of the arm. If the implant is located in the chest, healthcare professionals familiar with the anatomy of the chest should be consulted. Failure to remove the implant may result in continued effects of etonogestrel, such as compromised fertility, ectopic pregnancy, or persistence or occurrence of a drug-related adverse event.

5.2 Changes in Menstrual Bleeding Patterns

After starting NEXPLANON, women are likely to have a change from their normal menstrual bleeding pattern. These may include changes in bleeding frequency (absent, less, more frequent or continuous), intensity (reduced or increased) or duration. In clinical trials of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), bleeding patterns ranged from amenorrhea (1 in 5 women) to frequent and/or prolonged bleeding (1 in 5 women). The bleeding pattern experienced during the first three months of NEXPLANON use is broadly predictive of the future bleeding pattern for many women. Women should be counseled regarding the bleeding pattern changes they may experience so that they know what to expect. Abnormal bleeding should be evaluated as needed to exclude pathologic conditions or pregnancy.

In clinical studies of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant, reports of changes in bleeding pattern were the most common reason for stopping treatment (11.1%). Irregular bleeding (10.8%) was the single most common reason women stopped treatment, while amenorrhea (0.3%) was cited less frequently. In these studies, women had an average of 17.7 days of bleeding or spotting every 90 days (based on 3,315 intervals of 90 days recorded by 780 patients). The percentages of patients having 0, 1-7, 8-21, or >21 days of spotting or bleeding over a 90-day interval while using the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Bleeding or Spotting: Incidence and Duration Over a 90-Day Interval While Using the Non-Radiopaque Etonogestrel Implant (IMPLANON)
Total Days of Bleeding or Spotting Percentage of Patients
Treatment Days 91-180(N = 745) Treatment Days 271-360(N = 657) Treatment Days 631-720(N = 547)
0 Days 19% 24% 17%
1-7 Days 15% 13% 12%
8-21 Days 30% 30% 37%
>21 Days 35% 33% 35%

Bleeding patterns observed with use of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant for up to 2 years, and the proportion of 90-day intervals with these bleeding patterns, are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2: Bleeding Patterns Using the Non-Radiopaque Etonogestrel Implant (IMPLANON) During the First 2 Years of Use *
Based on 3315 recording periods of 90 days duration in 780 women, excluding the first 90 days after implant insertion
% = Percentage of 90-day intervals with this pattern
Infrequent Less than three bleeding and/or spotting episodes in 90 days (excluding amenorrhea) 33.6
Amenorrhea No bleeding and/or spotting in 90 days 22.2
Prolonged Any bleeding and/or spotting episode lasting more than 14 days in 90 days 17.7
Frequent More than 5 bleeding and/or spotting episodes in 90 days 6.7

In case of undiagnosed, persistent, or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding, appropriate measures should be conducted to rule out malignancy.

5.3 Ectopic Pregnancies

As with all progestin-only contraceptive products, be alert to the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy among women using NEXPLANON who become pregnant or complain of lower abdominal pain. Although ectopic pregnancies are uncommon among women using NEXPLANON, a pregnancy that occurs in a woman using NEXPLANON may be more likely to be ectopic than a pregnancy occurring in a woman using no contraception.

5.4 Thrombotic and Other Vascular Events

The use of combination hormonal contraceptives (progestin plus estrogen) increases the risk of vascular events, including arterial events (strokes and myocardial infarctions) or deep venous thrombotic events (venous thromboembolism, deep venous thrombosis, retinal vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism). NEXPLANON is a progestin-only contraceptive. It is unknown whether this increased risk is applicable to etonogestrel alone. It is recommended, however, that women with risk factors known to increase the risk of venous and arterial thromboembolism be carefully assessed.

There have been postmarketing reports of serious arterial thrombotic and venous thromboembolic events, including cases of pulmonary emboli (some fatal), deep vein thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and strokes, in women using etonogestrel implants. NEXPLANON should be removed in the event of a thrombosis.

Due to the risk of thromboembolism associated with pregnancy and immediately following delivery, NEXPLANON should not be used prior to 21 days postpartum. Women with a history of thromboembolic disorders should be made aware of the possibility of a recurrence.

Evaluate for retinal vein thrombosis immediately if there is unexplained loss of vision, proptosis, diplopia, papilledema, or retinal vascular lesions.

Consider removal of the NEXPLANON implant in case of long-term immobilization due to surgery or illness.

5.5 Ovarian Cysts

If follicular development occurs, atresia of the follicle is sometimes delayed, and the follicle may continue to grow beyond the size it would attain in a normal cycle. Generally, these enlarged follicles disappear spontaneously. On rare occasion, surgery may be required.

5.6 Carcinoma of the Breast and Reproductive Organs

Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use hormonal contraception because breast cancer may be hormonally sensitive [see Contraindications (4)]. Some studies suggest that the use of combination hormonal contraceptives might increase the incidence of breast cancer; however, other studies have not confirmed such findings.

Some studies suggest that the use of combination hormonal contraceptives is associated with an increase in the risk of cervical cancer or intraepithelial neoplasia. However, there is controversy about the extent to which these findings are due to differences in sexual behavior and other factors.

Women with a family history of breast cancer or who develop breast nodules should be carefully monitored.

5.7 Liver Disease

Disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of hormonal contraceptive use until markers of liver function return to normal. Remove NEXPLANON if jaundice develops.

Hepatic adenomas are associated with combination hormonal contraceptives use. An estimate of the attributable risk is 3.3 cases per 100,000 for combination hormonal contraceptives users. It is not known whether a similar risk exists with progestin-only methods like NEXPLANON.

The progestin in NEXPLANON may be poorly metabolized in women with liver impairment. Use of NEXPLANON in women with active liver disease or liver cancer is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4)]. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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