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Etonogestrel (Nexplanon®)


What is etonogestrel?

Etonogestrel, also called Nexplanon, is a birth control implant that can be used for up to 3 years. It is a flexible plastic rod placed under the skin. Nexplanon works by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg every month before your period. When it is placed correctly, it has more than a 99 percent chance of preventing pregnancy.

Etonogestrel placement

The drawing at the right shows what the implant looks like and where it will be placed.

How Nexplanon® is inserted

  • Nexplanon is placed in your arm at your doctor’s office. Your doctor will use a numbing medicine to help prevent pain during and after the procedure. The implant is put under the skin on the inside of your upper arm. A small cut is made in the skin, and the implant is guided into the opening. No stiches are required. You will wear a pressure bandage for 24 hours and then a small bandage for 3 to 5 days.
  • After the implant is in place, you and your doctor should make sure that it is in the right place by feeling for it.
  • Your doctor may schedule the procedure during the first few days of your period. The doctor might also do a pregnancy test before placing the implant to make sure you are not pregnant. If you are switching to Nexplanon from another form of birth control, tell your doctor so your visit can be scheduled correctly.

How Nexplanon is removed

  • Nexplanon must be removed 3 years after it was placed. It can be removed sooner than this if you wish to become pregnant or if any side effects become unbearable.
  • Nexplanon is removed in a similar way to how it was placed. The doctor will use a numbing medicine to prevent pain during and after the procedure. Normally, this procedure does not require stitches to keep the wound closed.

Possible side effects of Nexplanon

  • For a few days after Nexplanon is placed, you might have some pain, irritated skin, or bruising near the site. Follow your doctor’s guidelines for taking care of the site and how to manage any pain.
  • You may have a change in your periods. You may have longer or shorter bleeding time or no bleeding at all. You may also have some spotting between periods.
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Mood swings or depression

These are the most common side effects, but you might have others. Please tell your doctor or nurse about all side effects. If you have a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for Nexplanon

  • Your doctor will put 2 bandages on your arm after Nexplanon is placed. You may remove the top bandage 24 hours after this procedure. The other, smaller bandage must be left in place and kept clean and dry for 3 to 5 days. The doctor will place similar bandages after removing Nexplanon.
  • At any time if you cannot feel or see the implant or you think it may be broken or bent, call your doctor. Use a backup method of birth control until your doctor confirms that Nexplanon is still in place.
  • Tell your doctor about any changes to your medicines and about any over-the-counter medicines you take. Some medicines may interact with the medicine that is in Nexplanon.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you think you might be pregnant. Also tell the doctor if you begin to have pain in your lower abdomen, or belly.
  • If you wish to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about having Nexplanon removed. You may be able to become pregnant as soon as one (1) to 2 weeks after Nexplanon is removed.
  • Nexplanon does not protect you against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Use a condom to best protect yourself against these illnesses.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).