I just read this report (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/8192480/contraceptive-to-stay-on-sale-despite-controversy) on NineMSN and was a little alarmed by it! I, myself, don't have implanon but several of my friends do. For the link-a-phobes:
Australia's drug watchdog says a popular contraceptive implant will not be taken off the market despite concerns it has resulted in unwanted pregnancies.
A spokeswoman for Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration told ninemsn the TGA was monitoring unexpected pregnancies in women using Implanon but the drug "can't be taken off the market".
She said the number of unwanted pregnancies reported was "very low" and only affected a handful of women using the contraceptive, which was first registered in Australia in 1999.
The UK's National Health Service was recently forced to pay compensation totalling $310,000 to women who were hurt by Implanon contraceptive implants and seven women who became pregnant unexpectedly, The Daily Mail reports.
Since its release in Australia, Implanon has gained popularity as a long-term contraceptive which is designed to work for three years.
The device, made by Organon International, is a hormone filled flexible rod about the size of a matchstick.
A state family planning body said Australian women should not be alarmed by the UK report.
"We've not had reports about that sort of thing in Australia," said Rebecca Smith, spokeswoman for the family planning association of Western Australia.
"Implanon is the most reliable contraception as far as we're concerned because it's the most long lasting, it's not like the contraceptive pill that you have to take every day," Ms Smith told ninemsn.
Ms Smith said Implanon was "highly recommended" by family planning groups because it lasted for such a long time.
The TGA spokeswoman said the issue of unintended pregnancies in women using Implanon was subject to ongoing monitoring.
"Rates of unintended pregnancy have not significantly changed since the product was first registered," she said in a statement sent to ninemsn.
In Australia, 633,000 units of the Implanon contraceptive have been issued under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme since 2001, according to TGA statistics.
There have been 424 cases of unexpected pregnancies since it first came onto the local market.
There have also been 29 cases of spontaneous abortion, 28 cases of pregnancy with implant contraceptive and 17 cases of ectopic pregnancy.
"There have been no reports of skin scarring and only one report of difficulty in using the device," the TGA said.
In the UK, a total of 584 women reported unwanted pregnancies to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency — the Government’s drugs and medical devices watchdog.
But the Daily Mail said the number could be much higher as many women may not have complained after becoming pregnant and either undergoing abortions or giving birth.
In the UK there were 1,607 complaints about the implant going wrong, with doctors saying it was difficult to insert and impossible to check whether it had been correctly installed.
Implanon's manufacturer MSD updated the device with one called Nexplanon which can be checked to see whether it has been inserted correctly and has a preloaded applicator to help with insertion.
The new product is also now registered in Australia.
Australia's TGA spokeswoman said unwanted pregnancies could occur when the device was not implanted correctly."Some cases have been reported in which the implant was not inserted on the correct day or was not properly inserted or was not inserted at all. Incidentally, this has resulted in unintended pregnancy," the TGA said.Now, I'm in Australia and I see they've said that there have been no reports of unwanted pregnancies here but if the method is defective it can't be solely confined to the UK, surely.