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Implanon Reviews Could Steer Women Away From the Birth Control Device

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Santa Cruz, CAWomen seeking a long-term birth control solution have probably heard about the implantable birth control device Implanon. However, if they somehow missed the news of Implanon lawsuits and rely on reviews at online health forums, what they find may steer those women away from using Implanon.

For example, at the popular health information website Everyday Health, reviews from Implanon users give the implantable birth control device an overall score of only 2.5 out of a possible 5-star rating.

Implanon is a matchstick-sized metal rod that is inserted beneath the skin of a woman's upper arm. Once implanted, the device slowly releases the hormone etonogestrel (synthetic progestin) over a period of around three years before the Implanon rod is removed.

Implanon inhibits the risk of pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs. Implanon also increases the amount of cervical mucous, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb.

The women writing reviews on Everyday Health complain of acne breakouts, weight gain, mood swings, angry outbursts and loss of sexual desire, among other alleged side effects, while admitting that Implanon did in fact keep them from getting pregnant.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Implanon in July 2006. Since then, Implanon has been used by around 500,000 women in the US, and the birth control device has a 99% effective rate at preventing pregnancy for up to three years.

However, Implanon has also been linked to serious health risks, including blood clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and migration.

In March 2016, the FDA released a safety warning for Implanon (etonogestril) implants due to reports of the device migrating from its insertion point in the arm to other parts of the body.

According to the FDA's warning:

"Expulsion or migration of the implant have been reported, including to the chest wall. In some cases, implants have been found within the vasculature, including the pulmonary artery. . . In cases where the implant has migrated to the pulmonary artery, endovascular or surgical procedures may be needed for removal."

In March 2015, two women alleged in a federal lawsuit Brook Reynolds et al v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. et al Case No. 3:15-cv-397, Northern District of Ohio, Western Division that their Implanon device migrated and couldn't be located by doctors despite surgical attempts.

"To date, plaintiff still has the lost Implanon somewhere in her body," an attorney for Brook Reynolds claims in the lawsuit. Another plaintiff in the suit, Ruby Ginns, makes the same claims.

According to the lawsuit: "As a result of their lost, irretrievable and irreversible implants, plaintiffs also each suffer the threat of future infertility, ectopic pregnancy, the inability to stop a drug-related adverse event, neural and vascular damage and other potential injuries."

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