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What is Nexplanon?

Nexplanon is a hormone-releasing birth control implant that is FDA approved to prevent pregnancy for 3  years, though studies support it can prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. The implant is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a toothpick that contains a progestin hormone called etonogestrel. Nexplanon does not contain estrogen.

What are the benefits of Nexplanon?

  • Decrease cramps and pain with periods
  • More than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Low maintenance & private option
  • Safe for people that can’t use estrogen containing methods

What are the most common side effects I can expect while using Nexplanon?

The most common side effect is a change in your normal menstrual bleeding pattern. You may experience longer or shorter periods of bleeding or have no bleeding at all. The time between periods may vary, and in between periods you may also have spotting. Some people have light bleeding every day. For most people, period will be lighter overall, though frequent light bleeding or brown discharge are common, especially during the first 6 months. It is important to give the Nexplanon at least 3-6 months to see if bleeding side effects will get better. If bleeding is bothersome, your doctor may be able to give you a medication for 1-2 months to help.

Other side effects can include:

  • Acne
  • Weight change
  • Breast pain
  • Mood changes
  • Headache

How is the Nexplanon inserted?

Your gynecology clinician will insert the implant just under the skin of the inner side of your upper arm during a clinic appointment. Most people will feel mild stinging at the injection site from the numbing injection. After the numbing medicine wears off your arm may be sore or ache where the implant was inserted. Bruising is common with insertion of the device.

A pressure wrap will be applied around your arm and should be kept on for 24 hours.

You may have steri-strips placed at the site of insertion. These can be removed if they have not fallen off after 7 days.

If you are using the Nexplanon implant for pregnancy prevention, you may need to use another form of backup contraception for 7 days depending on the date of your last period. Your gynecology clinician will let you know if you need to do this.

Call the clinic right away if you have:

  • Bleeding, pus, discoloration or pain where to implant was inserted
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as swollen face, tongue or throat; trouble swallowing; or hives
  • Yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes, especially with fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, or light-colored bowel movements
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding soaking a pad/tampon per hour for 3 hours in a row

What if I change my mind and want to stop using Nexplanon before 5 years?

Your gynecology clinician can remove the implant at any time, however, we ask you to keep the implant for a minimum of 3-6 months. You may become pregnant as early as the first week after removal of the implant. If you do not want to get pregnant after your gynecologist removes the Nexplanon implant, you should start another birth control method right away.


This is not specific to you but provides general information.  If you have any questions, please ask the doctors or nurses.

Reviewed GYN 7/2022

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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