Nexplanon (Page 3 of 8)

2.4 Replacing NEXPLANON

Immediate replacement can be done after removal of the previous implant and is similar to the insertion procedure described in section 2.2 Insertion of NEXPLANON.

The new implant may be inserted in the same arm, and through the same incision from which the previous implant was removed, as long as the site is in the correct location, i.e., 8-10 cm from the medial epicondyle of the humerus and 3-5 cm posterior to (below) the sulcus [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. If the same incision is being used to insert a new implant, anesthetize the insertion site [for example, 2 mL lidocaine (1%)] applying it just under the skin along the ‘insertion canal.’

Follow the subsequent steps in the insertion instructions [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].


Single, white/off-white, soft, radiopaque, flexible, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer implant, 4 cm in length and 2 mm in diameter containing 68 mg etonogestrel, 15 mg of barium sulfate and 0.1 mg of magnesium stearate.


NEXPLANON should not be used in women who have

  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Current or past history of thrombosis or thromboembolic disorders
  • Liver tumors, benign or malignant, or active liver disease
  • Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
  • Known or suspected breast cancer, personal history of breast cancer, or other progestin-sensitive cancer, now or in the past
  • Allergic reaction to any of the components of NEXPLANON [see Adverse Reactions (6)]


The following information is based on experience with the etonogestrel implants (IMPLANON and/or NEXPLANON), other progestin-only contraceptives, or experience with combination (estrogen plus progestin) oral contraceptives.

5.1 Complications of Insertion and Removal

NEXPLANON should be inserted subdermally so that it will be palpable after insertion, and this should be confirmed by palpation immediately after insertion. Failure to insert NEXPLANON properly may go unnoticed unless it is palpated immediately after insertion. Undetected failure to insert the implant may lead to an unintended pregnancy. Complications related to insertion and removal procedures, such as pain, paresthesias, bleeding, hematoma, scarring or infection, may occur.

If NEXPLANON is inserted deeply (intramuscular or in the fascia), neural or vascular injury may occur. To help reduce the risk of neural or vascular injury, NEXPLANON should be inserted subdermally just under the skin at the inner side of the non-dominant upper arm overlying the triceps muscle about 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) from the medial epicondyle of the humerus and 3-5 cm (1.25-2 inches) posterior to (below) the sulcus (groove) between the biceps and triceps muscles. This location is intended to avoid the large blood vessels and nerves lying within and surrounding the sulcus. Deep insertions of NEXPLANON have been associated with paresthesia (due to neural injury), migration of the implant (due to intramuscular or fascial insertion), and intravascular insertion. If infection develops at the insertion site, start suitable treatment. If the infection persists, the implant should be removed. Incomplete insertions or infections may lead to expulsion.

Implant removal may be difficult or impossible if the implant is not inserted correctly, is inserted too deeply, not palpable, encased in fibrous tissue, or has migrated.

There have been reports of migration of the implant within the arm from the insertion site, which may be related to deep insertion. There also have been postmarketing reports of implants located within the vessels of the arm and the pulmonary artery, which may be related to deep insertions or intravascular insertion. Some cases of implants found within the pulmonary artery were associated with chest pain and/or respiratory disorders (such as dyspnea, cough, or hemoptysis); others were asymptomatic. In cases where the implant has migrated to the pulmonary artery, endovascular or surgical procedures may be needed for removal.

If at any time the implant cannot be palpated, it should be localized, and removal is recommended.

Exploratory surgery without knowledge of the exact location of the implant is strongly discouraged. Removal of deeply inserted implants should be conducted with caution in order to prevent injury to deeper neural or vascular structures in the arm and be performed by healthcare professionals familiar with the anatomy of the arm. If the implant is located in the chest, healthcare professionals familiar with the anatomy of the chest should be consulted. Failure to remove the implant may result in continued effects of etonogestrel, such as compromised fertility, ectopic pregnancy, or persistence or occurrence of a drug-related adverse event.

5.2 Changes in Menstrual Bleeding Patterns

After starting NEXPLANON, women are likely to have a change from their normal menstrual bleeding pattern. These may include changes in bleeding frequency (absent, less, more frequent or continuous), intensity (reduced or increased) or duration. In clinical trials of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), bleeding patterns ranged from amenorrhea (1 in 5 women) to frequent and/or prolonged bleeding (1 in 5 women). The bleeding pattern experienced during the first three months of NEXPLANON use is broadly predictive of the future bleeding pattern for many women. Women should be counseled regarding the bleeding pattern changes they may experience so that they know what to expect. Abnormal bleeding should be evaluated as needed to exclude pathologic conditions or pregnancy.

In clinical studies of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant, reports of changes in bleeding pattern were the most common reason for stopping treatment (11.1%). Irregular bleeding (10.8%) was the single most common reason women stopped treatment, while amenorrhea (0.3%) was cited less frequently. In these studies, women had an average of 17.7 days of bleeding or spotting every 90 days (based on 3,315 intervals of 90 days recorded by 780 patients). The percentages of patients having 0, 1-7, 8-21, or >21 days of spotting or bleeding over a 90-day interval while using the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Bleeding or Spotting: Incidence and Duration Over a 90-Day Interval While Using the Non-Radiopaque Etonogestrel Implant (IMPLANON)
Total Days of Bleeding or Spotting Percentage of Patients
Treatment Days 91-180(N = 745) Treatment Days 271-360(N = 657) Treatment Days 631-720(N = 547)
0 Days 19% 24% 17%
1-7 Days 15% 13% 12%
8-21 Days 30% 30% 37%
>21 Days 35% 33% 35%

Bleeding patterns observed with use of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant for up to 2 years, and the proportion of 90-day intervals with these bleeding patterns, are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2: Bleeding Patterns Using the Non-Radiopaque Etonogestrel Implant (IMPLANON) During the First 2 Years of Use *
Based on 3315 recording periods of 90 days duration in 780 women, excluding the first 90 days after implant insertion
% = Percentage of 90-day intervals with this pattern
Infrequent Less than three bleeding and/or spotting episodes in 90 days (excluding amenorrhea) 33.6
Amenorrhea No bleeding and/or spotting in 90 days 22.2
Prolonged Any bleeding and/or spotting episode lasting more than 14 days in 90 days 17.7
Frequent More than 5 bleeding and/or spotting episodes in 90 days 6.7

In case of undiagnosed, persistent, or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding, appropriate measures should be conducted to rule out malignancy.

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