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What Is It?

Nexplanon is a long-acting form of birth control for women. It is a single plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is put under the skin of the arm. Nexplanon contains a hormone called etonogestrel (progestin).

How Does It Work?

  • Stops the release of egg from ovary
  • Changes mucus in cervix and change may keep sperm from reaching egg
  • Changes lining of uterus

How Is It Used?

A health care provider inserts Nexplanon, a single plastic rod containing the hormone etonogestrel (progestin), under the skin of the arm. You can use a single Nexplanon for up to three years.


Greater than 99%


  • Works for 3 years
  • Does not interfere with sex
  • If breast feeding, may be possible to use four weeks after delivery, talk with doctor
  • Ability to get pregnant may return quickly after Nexplanon removal

Possible Concerns:

  • Does not protect against infection from HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Expect menstrual periods to be irregular and unpredictable throughout the time using Nexplanon (including more bleeding, less bleeding or no bleeding, varying time between periods and spotting between periods).
  • Side effects may include irregular bleeding, headache, vaginitis (inflamation of the vagina) weight gain, acne, breast pain, mood swings, nevousness and depression. 
  • Need to return for removal and replacement after 3 years.
  • Both insertion and removal require a minor surgical procedure
  • Unknown if less effective in very overweight women as studies did not include many overweight women