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MHRA issues advice for GPs on contraceptive implant

By Laura Passi

GPs have been advised to tell women worried about the presence of their long-acting contraceptive device to use alternative methods of contraception, after concerns were raised about the popular implant, Implanon.

Recent media reports have highlighted difficulties in insertion with Implanon, causing the device to be ineffective and leading to a reported 576 unwanted pregnancies. In some of these cases the device was completely absent.

In response, the UK drugs regulator says they are keeping the implants under 'close review' and have issued advice to healthcare professionals about how to approach the issue with patients.

The statement says: 'There have been reports of problems with inserting and removing Implanon. In some women who have had an unintended pregnancy, Implanon was found not to have been inserted at all. These issues have been kept under close review.

It recommends women should check to see if they can feel the device: ‘If the implant cannot be located this does not necessarily mean that Implanon is not present, and women may wish to ask for confirmation of its presence at the next routine appointment with their Implanon fitter … In the meantime if women are in any doubt about the presence of Implanon they should use a condom.'

The MHRA statement also encourages doctors who wish to fit Implanon to undergo suitable training.

A spokesperson from the manufacturer of Implanon, MSD, said: 'The basis for successful use of Implanon is a correct and carefully performed subdermal insertion of the implant in accordance with the product instructions.

'MSD encourages consumers to speak with their healthcare providers if they have any questions about contraceptive options and to report any adverse experience associated with any MSD medication.'

Read the full MHRA statement here

Incorrectly fitted Implanon has led to pregnancies Pulse CPD

Read our PulsePlus feature on Family Planning - including long-acting contraception - here

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