Prescription Drug Information: Nexplanon (Page 5 of 7)


Consult the labeling of concurrently-used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.

7.1 Effects of Other Drugs on Hormonal Contraceptives

Substances decreasing the plasma concentrations of hormonal contraceptives (HCs) and potentially diminishing the efficacy of HCs:

Drugs or herbal products that induce certain enzymes, including cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), may decrease the plasma concentrations of HCs and potentially diminish the effectiveness of HCs or increase breakthrough bleeding.

Some drugs or herbal products that may decrease the effectiveness of HCs include efavirenz, phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, bosentan, felbamate, griseofulvin, oxcarbazepine, rifampicin, topiramate, rifabutin, rufinamide, aprepitant, and products containing St. John’s wort. Interactions between HCs and other drugs may lead to breakthrough bleeding and/or contraceptive failure. Counsel women to use an alternative non-hormonal method of contraception or a back-up method when enzyme inducers are used with HCs, and to continue back-up non-hormonal contraception for 28 days after discontinuing the enzyme inducer to ensure contraceptive reliability.

Substances increasing the plasma concentrations of HCs:

Co-administration of certain HCs and strong or moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole, voriconazole, fluconazole, grapefruit juice, or ketoconazole may increase the serum concentrations of progestins, including etonogestrel.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors:

Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma concentrations of progestin have been noted in cases of co-administration with HIV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., nelfinavir, ritonavir, darunavir/ritonavir, (fos)amprenavir/ritonavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, and tipranavir/ritonavir] or increase [e.g., indinavir and atazanavir/ritonavir])/HCV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., boceprevir and telaprevir]) or with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (decrease [e.g., nevirapine, efavirenz] or increase [e.g., etravirine]). These changes may be clinically relevant in some cases.

Consult the prescribing information of anti-viral and anti-retroviral concomitant medications to identify potential interactions.

7.2 Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives on Other Drugs

Hormonal contraceptives may affect the metabolism of other drugs. Consequently, plasma concentrations may either increase (for example, cyclosporine) or decrease (for example, lamotrigine). Consult the labeling of all concurrently-used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

NEXPLANON is contraindicated during pregnancy because there is no need for pregnancy prevention in a woman who is already pregnant [see Contraindications (4)]. Epidemiologic studies and meta-analyses have not shown an increased risk of genital or non-genital birth defects (including cardiac anomalies and limb-reduction defects) following maternal exposure to low dose CHCs prior to conception or during early pregnancy. No adverse development outcomes were observed in pregnant rats and rabbits with the administration of etonogestrel during organogenesis at doses of 315 or 781 times the anticipated human dose (60 µg/day) (see Data).

NEXPLANON should be removed if maintaining a pregnancy.


Animal Data

Teratology studies have been performed in rats and rabbits using oral administration up to 315 and 781 times the human etonogestrel dose (based upon body surface) and revealed no evidence of fetal harm due to etonogestrel exposure.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Small amounts of contraceptive steroids and/or metabolites, including etonogestrel are present in human milk. No significant adverse effects have been observed in the production or quality of breast milk, or on the physical and psychomotor development of breastfed infants (see Data).

Hormonal contraceptives, including etonogestrel, can reduce milk production in breastfeeding mothers. This is less likely to occur once breastfeeding is well-established; however, it can occur at any time in some women. When possible, advise the nursing mother about both hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive options, as steroids may not be the initial choice for these patients. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for NEXPLANON and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from NEXPLANON or from the underlying maternal condition.


The amount of etonogestrel contained within breast milk was measured in 38 lactating women who began using IMPLANON during the fourth to eighth week postpartum. The study evaluated Implanon versus another contraceptive, was not randomized and data were considered observational and exploratory; therefore, comparisons could not be made. Based on the findings of this study, during the first months after insertion of IMPLANON, when maternal blood levels of etonogestrel are highest, about 100 ng of etonogestrel may be ingested by the child per day based on an average daily milk ingestion of 658 mL. Based on daily milk ingestion of 150 mL/kg, the mean daily infant etonogestrel dose one month after insertion of IMPLANON is about 2.2% of the weight-adjusted maternal daily dose, or about 0.2% of the estimated absolute maternal daily dose. Adverse reactions were not observed in breastfed infants exposed to etonogestrel through breast milk. No adverse effects on the production or quality of breast milk were detected.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy of NEXPLANON have been established in women of reproductive age. Safety and efficacy of NEXPLANON are expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents. However, no clinical studies have been conducted in women less than 18 years of age. Use of this product before menarche is not indicated.

8.5 Geriatric Use

This product has not been studied in women over 65 years of age and is not indicated in this population.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

No studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic disease on the disposition of NEXPLANON. The use of NEXPLANON in women with active liver disease is contraindicated [see Contraindications (4)].

8.7 Overweight Women

The effectiveness of the etonogestrel implant in women who weighed more than 130% of their ideal body weight has not been defined because such women were not studied in clinical trials. Serum concentrations of etonogestrel are inversely related to body weight and decrease with time after implant insertion. It is therefore possible that NEXPLANON may be less effective in overweight women, especially in the presence of other factors that decrease serum etonogestrel concentrations such as concomitant use of hepatic enzyme inducers.


Overdosage may result if more than one implant is inserted. In case of suspected overdose, the implant should be removed.


NEXPLANON is a radiopaque, progestin-only, soft, flexible implant preloaded in a sterile, disposable applicator for subdermal use. The implant is white/off-white, non-biodegradable and 4 cm in length with a diameter of 2 mm (see Figure 19). Each implant consists of an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer (28% vinyl acetate, 43 mg) core, containing 68 mg of the synthetic progestin etonogestrel, barium sulfate ((15 mg), radiopaque ingredient), and magnesium stearate (0.1 mg), surrounded by an EVA copolymer skin. Once inserted subdermally, the release rate is 60-70 mcg/day in week 5-6 and decreases to approximately 35-45 mcg/day at the end of the first year, to approximately 30-40 mcg/day at the end of the second year, and then to approximately 25-30 mcg/day at the end of the third year. NEXPLANON is a progestin-only contraceptive and does not contain estrogen. NEXPLANON does not contain latex.

Figure 19
Figure 19 (Not to scale)

Etonogestrel [13-Ethyl-17-hydroxy-11-methylene-18,19-dinor-17α-pregn-4-en-20-yn-3-one], structurally derived from 19-nortestosterone, is the synthetic biologically active metabolite of the synthetic progestin desogestrel. It has a molecular weight of 324.46 and the following structural formula (Figure 20).

Figure 20
Figure 20


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The contraceptive effect of NEXPLANON is achieved by suppression of ovulation, increased viscosity of the cervical mucus, and alterations in the endometrium.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Exposure-response relationships of NEXPLANON are unknown.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


After subdermal insertion of the etonogestrel implant, etonogestrel is released into the circulation and is approximately 100% bioavailable.

In a three year clinical trial, NEXPLANON and the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON) yielded comparable systemic exposure to etonogestrel. For NEXPLANON, the mean (± SD) maximum serum etonogestrel concentrations were 1200 (± 604) pg/mL and were reached within the first two weeks after insertion (n=50). The mean (± SD) serum etonogestrel concentration decreased gradually over time, declining to 202 (± 55) pg/mL at 12 months (n=41), 164 (± 58) pg/mL at 24 months (n=37), and 138 (± 43) pg/mL at 36 months (n=32). For the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), the mean (± SD) maximum serum etonogestrel concentrations were 1145 (± 577) pg/mL and were reached within the first two weeks after insertion (n=53). The mean (± SD) serum etonogestrel concentration decreased gradually over time, declining to 223 (± 73) pg/mL at 12 months (n=40), 172 (± 77) pg/mL at 24 months (n=32), and 153 (± 52) pg/mL at 36 months (n=30).

The pharmacokinetic profile of NEXPLANON is shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21: Mean (± SD) Serum Concentration-Time Profile of Etonogestrel After Insertion of NEXPLANON During 3 Years of Use

Figure 21
(click image for full-size original)


The apparent volume of distribution averages about 201 L. Etonogestrel is approximately 32% bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and 66% bound to albumin in blood.


In vitro data shows that etonogestrel is metabolized in liver microsomes by the cytochrome P450 3A4 isoenzyme. The biological activity of etonogestrel metabolites is unknown.


The elimination half-life of etonogestrel is approximately 25 hours. Excretion of etonogestrel and its metabolites, either as free steroid or as conjugates, is mainly in urine and to a lesser extent in feces. After removal of the implant, etonogestrel concentrations decreased below sensitivity of the assay by one week. 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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