Merck announced that it has made available Nexplanon (etonogestrel implant), a long-acting, progestin-only single-rod hormonal contraceptive approved for the prevention of pregnancy in women for up to three years. Nexplanon must be removed by the end of the third year and may be replaced by a new Nexplanon, if continued contraceptive protection is desired. Removal of Nexplanon can occur at any time during the three years at the request of the patient. In clinical trials, pregnancies were observed to occur as early as 7–14 days after removal of Nexplanon. If pregnancy is not desired after removal of Nexplanon, another method of birth control must be started immediately.

Nexplanon is made of a soft, flexible, medical polymer and is inserted just under the skin of a woman’s upper arm in a minor surgical in-office procedure. The implant provides 68mg of etonogestrel over three years.

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