A contraceptive implant, Nexplanon has been available in more than 100 countries already, and now it will also be available for use in Canada. The birth control implant consists of a small rod that requires a small incision through which it is inserted in the arm. The contraceptive is effective for at least three years and an efficient way to prevent pregnancy.
The implant consists of synthetic progesterone which is continuously released into the body at a low dose. The novel contraceptive method provides an addition to the birth control options which was overdue for the Canadian patients.
The new contraceptive method of Nexplanon was a need of the hour during the coronavirus pandemic as patients need multiple options and flexibility in choices when it comes to birth control. Before the new birth control implant was introduced in Canada, the only long-term methods of contraception were hormonal or copper intrauterine devices (IUDs).
An IUD is designed in a T shape that is inserted in the cervix through the uterus. Hormonal IUDs are also available which use the same principle of Nexplanon contraceptive, by releasing a small amount of synthetic progesterone into the body. IUD and Nexplanon are reversible birth control implants as the prevention is no longer there as soon as the implant is removed from the body. Both of these implants are highly effective in the prevention of pregnancy.
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) might be preferred by patients over the rest of the contraception methods since the daily routine of work, school, and life make it difficult to keep a track of the birth control. The varying work schedules can be an issue when it comes to remembering to take a pill every single day, that too at the same time.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it is seen that it can become extremely difficult for some patients to regularly take their contraception under unusual circumstances. While some patients find it difficult to remember taking a pill every single day or doing their weekly patches, they can get uninterrupted prevention of pregnancy for almost three years by LARC which is equally effective.
Some patients also stress about having to insert a device vaginally or experience pain during the process. This new birth control implant is an effective alternative to such devices. Nexplanon is also an alternative for the victims of sexual assault as they might not be comfortable during a pelvic exam as it could be triggering for them.
Some patients also stress about the implant is in place which can move in the uterus, an implant in the upper arm is an effective alternative for such patients.
IUDs and Nexplanon cannot prevent STDs and to prevent such infections, the use of condoms is an effective method. However, after Covid-19, the stigma around getting tested for infections might be reduced and effective prevention against infections will be encouraged.
The birth control implants also have their side effects like other medications and everyone is not suitable to get one. The patient should be informed completely about the implant and educated about the long term action of contraceptives such as Nexplanon.