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Concern over contraceptive implant ‘unfounded’



By Laura Passi

A GP expert says recent concerns over the contraceptive implant Implanon are unfounded and could undermine years of work to reduce numbers of unplanned pregnancies in primary care.

In a letter sent to Pulse, Dr Anne Connolly, president of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum, says recent media reports regarding Implanon were ‘irresponsible’ and would lead to unfounded mistrust of long-acting reversible contraception among women.

LARCs have been in the firing line this week, following a documentary by Channel 4 warning of the risk of scarring and that the MHRA had received reports of 584 unplanned pregnancies in women who had the device fitted.

Dr Connolly said this number was ‘astounding’ considering the 1.3m Implanon devices fitted in the UK since 1999, and she believes that it is one of the ‘most reliable methods [of contraception] currently available in the UK.’

‘Encouraging women to use and to be able to easily access reliable “fit and forget” methods like the implant, rather than the easy to forget daily pill-taking regimens, reduces contraception failures,’ she said.

She explains that many of the problems were caused by improper insertion of the device, but stresses that this will be addressed with the introduction of a new, ‘relatively fool proof’ version.

‘Those of us who were working in women’s health in 1995 remember the increased termination of pregnancy rates following the “pill scare” when many women abandoned their oral contraceptive because of the sensational news reports … Many women will now mistrust their method of contraception or refuse to opt for this as their chosen method,’ she added.

Read the full letter here

Implanon Pulse CPD

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

Letter from Dr Anne Connolly