Matchstick Contraceptive for 3 Years

A one and a half inches long rod implanted underneath the skin of a woman's forearm can prevent pregnancy for three years

By on July 21st, 2006 08:41 GMT
A long time solution for women who do not want to get pregnant has received approval of US Food and Drug Association. The new matchstick-sized contraceptive will be implanted in women's bodies and will keep worries of having a child away for three years.

The implanted rod that can prevent pregnancy for such a long time is called Implanon and will be introduced immediately under the skin of women's forearm. The birth control device offers 99% protection against pregnancy.

"Based on clinical trial data and our review of post-marketing data from other countries, Implanon is a highly effective contraceptive that, importantly, does not depend on patient compliance. It is conceivable that there were no pregnancies that occurred while implants were in place in clinical trials. We know from post-marketing data that there are situations where the implant was in place where there was an occasional pregnancy. Like anything else, this is not 100 percent effective, but it's certainly highly effective," Dr. Scott Monroe, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products explained.

Implanon implanted in a woman's arm is going to release small amounts of progestin in order to prevent her from getting pregnant. It can cause irregular bleeding or spotting and, in the case of some women, eliminate also monthly periods.

The one and a half inches long rod is not trouble free, however. Besides the irregular metabolic abnormalities in women (bleeding, spotting etc.) it can also cause blood clotting, like any other birth control method.

The matchstick size contraceptive will be introduced under the forearm skin during a fast surgical procedure that is going to require only a local anesthetic. After this, it will be carried in for 3 years and then must be taken off. However, if a woman wants to give up wearing the birth control underneath her skin, she may remove it earlier, anytime she wants to.

"Even the best intentioned women can have difficulty using their birth control method consistently, which can lead to unintended pregnancy. The new contraceptive implant, Implanon, is indicated for three years, so it can be a hopeful alternative for women who prefer not to think about birth control every day, week, or month," Wayne C. Shields, president and CEO of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals stated for Food Consumer.

As a caution means, the FDA warned doctors that they cannot proceed to prescribing or implanting the stick contraceptive as long as they do not receive formal training for the procedures involved.

The price of Implanon has not been established or made public yet, but the producers state that it will not be more expensive as compared to contraceptive monthly taken, namely it will not exceed the amount of money spent by women on 36 packs of birth control pills.
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