Nexplanon (etonogestrel)

Medically Reviewed By Patricia Weiser, PharmD

About Nexplanon

Nexplanon is a brand-name prescription birth control implant. Doctors can prescribe Nexplanon for females to prevent pregnancy.*

It can be used by females who are able to become pregnant. Nexplanon should not be used by females who have not started having periods yet.

Nexplanon prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years after it is inserted.

For more details about this birth control option, see the “Nexplanon: Use for preventing pregnancy” section below. To learn about its insertion and removal, see the “Nexplanon: How it is inserted and removed” section below.

*Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the term “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Nexplanon.

Active drug etonogestrel
Drug class progestin, which is a lab-made form of progesterone
Form implant that’s inserted under the skin of your arm

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Nexplanon: Generic

Nexplanon contains the active drug etonogestrel. It is only available as a brand-name medication. And it isn’t currently available as a generic drug.

A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Nexplanon: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Nexplanon. These can include some mild side effects but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Nexplanon’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Nexplanon, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Nexplanon are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Nexplanon’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
• insertion or removal side effects, such as bruising, bleeding, or pain depression
• headache • intense or rapidly changing mood, such as uncontrollable crying or laughing
• nausea blood clots
breast pain liver problems
• sore throat • changes in blood pressure
• abdominal pain allergic reaction
vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) • changes in metabolism, such as high blood sugar or high cholesterol levels
• weight gain†    
• vaginal bleeding or spotting  
acne  

* This is not a complete list of Nexplanon’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Nexplanon’s side effects explained” below.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

Serious side effects from Nexplanon aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Nexplanon’s side effects explained

Below, you can find detailed information about some of Nexplanon’s side effects. To learn more about other side effects of this medication, talk with your doctor.  

Weight gain

Weight gain is a possible side effect of Nexplanon.

In fact, it was one of the most common side effects reported in Nexplanon’s clinical studies. That said, it’s not known how much weight gain was due to Nexplanon or another factor. Some people in the studies had Nexplanon removed due to weight gain.

To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in the studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

What to do

If you experience weight gain with Nexplanon, talk with your doctor. They can recommend diet or exercise changes to help you manage a body weight that’s healthy for you.

If you have excessive or bothersome weight gain, your doctor may recommend removing Nexplanon. In that case, they can recommend other forms of birth control for you.

Vaginal bleeding or spotting

Vaginal bleeding or spotting may occur while you’re using Nexplanon.

In fact, a change in menstrual bleeding was a common side effect of this drug in clinical studies. Change in bleeding was the most common reason people decided to stop using Nexplanon in the studies.

To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in the studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Some people have a change in their vaginal bleeding pattern during the first 3 months following Nexplanon insertion. This new pattern may continue for as long as you’re using Nexplanon.

Some possible changes in vaginal bleeding that may occur with Nexplanon include:

  • bleeding more often than usual
  • having a period that’s more or less heavy than usual
  • having a period that’s longer or shorter than usual
  • bleeding less than usual or not bleeding at all

What to do

Before prescribing Nexplanon, your doctor will discuss possible changes in bleeding or spotting that may occur.

If you have vaginal bleeding that’s heavy, prolonged, or concerning, talk with your doctor. They’ll work with you to identify the cause of your bleeding. Depending on the cause and severity of the bleeding, your doctor may recommend removing Nexplanon. Then, they can prescribe a different birth control option for you.

Acne

You may have acne while using Nexplanon. In fact, this was one of the most common side effects reported in Nexplanon’s clinical studies. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in the studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Because Nexplanon affects your hormone levels, it can cause acne to occur.

What to do

Tell your doctor if you have acne that’s bothersome while you’re using Nexplanon. They can recommend an acne treatment to help relieve your symptoms. Treatments could include a face wash or cream to help prevent acne breakouts.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Nexplanon. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Nexplanon, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Nexplanon: How it is inserted and removed

Your doctor will discuss with you how Nexplanon will be inserted and removed.

Nexplanon comes as a thin plastic rod that’s inserted under the skin of your arm. You’ll have the implant placed at your doctor’s office. Before you get Nexplanon, your doctor may have you take a pregnancy test. This helps ensure you aren’t pregnant before starting to use this form of birth control.

Below, we briefly describe what you can expect with insertion and removal of Nexplanon. For more information on how Nexplanon is inserted or removed, see the drug’s prescribing information.

What happens during Nexplanon insertion

Nexplanon should be placed into your nondominant arm (the arm that you don’t write with or do most activities with). Your doctor will have you lie down with your hand behind your head.

Then, your doctor will clean the skin of your upper inner arm and inject or apply a numbing medication. This way, you won’t feel the insertion of Nexplanon. Then, they’ll use a preloaded applicator device to insert the implant under your skin.

After Nexplanon has been placed, your doctor will put a bandage over your arm. Then, they’ll feel your arm to be sure that Nexplanon has been placed in the correct position.

Your doctor will recommend leaving the bandage on your arm for 24 hours after Nexplanon is inserted. Following this, you should keep a small bandage covering the area for 3 to 5 days.

After Nexplanon is inserted, your doctor will give you a medication card. The card contains information about when you had the implant placed and when it will need to be removed.

What happens during Nexplanon removal

Having Nexplanon removed involves a similar procedure as having it inserted. First, your doctor will feel your arm to locate the implant. Then, they’ll clean the area and either inject a numbing medication or place a numbing cream on your skin.

After that, your doctor will make a small cut into your skin and remove the implant. If you wish to get a new Nexplanon placed, your doctor can remove the old one and place a new one at the same time.

Your doctor will put a bandage over your arm. And they’ll recommend how long you should leave the bandage or another covering in place.

Nexplanon insertion or removal side effects

You may experience some side effects when Nexplanon is inserted or removed.

Insertion or removal side effects weren’t commonly reported in clinical studies of Nexplanon. However, it’s still possible for you to have them. Some possible insertion or removal side effects that people have reported include:

  • pain
  • numbness
  • bleeding
  • scarring
  • infection or abscess (a collection of fluid or pus)
  • bruising
  • itching
  • thickening of the skin

In rare cases, it’s possible for Nexplanon to move from where it’s inserted to another area of your arm or body. Although this is rare, it can be very serious. Due to this possible risk, it’s important to be aware of symptoms that may occur if Nexplanon moves. These symptoms may include:

If you experience side effects after Nexplanon insertion or removal, tell your doctor. They may recommend certain treatments to help ease your symptoms. For example, they may advise applying ice to your skin if it’s bruised. Or they may suggest that you take an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.

If you have any side effects that may be related to Nexplanon moving, it’s important to call your doctor or go to the hospital right away. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms are related to Nexplanon.

Questions about having Nexplanon inserted

Here’s a list of common questions related to having Nexplanon placed.

  • When should I have Nexplanon placed? Nexplanon is an implant that’s placed under the skin of your arm. It only needs to be replaced once every 3 years. When you have Nexplanon inserted, your doctor will give you a medication card. It will show when you’ll need to have your Nexplanon removed. If you wish to keep using Nexplanon, your doctor may recommend replacing your old implant with a new one at that time.
  • Is there a best time to have Nexplanon placed? Your doctor will recommend inserting Nexplanon at a certain time during your menstrual cycle. This is because Nexplanon is a form of hormonal birth control, so it affects your hormone levels. Doctors will likely recommend that you have Nexplanon inserted within 5 days after your period starts. If Nexplanon is inserted after the fifth day of your cycle, your doctor will recommend that you use a nonhormonal birth control method, such as condoms, for 7 days.

Nexplanon: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Nexplanon and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

What’s the effectiveness of Nexplanon? What is the drug’s pregnancy rate?

Nexplanon is an effective form of birth control. It works to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years after it has been placed. Nexplanon was found to be an effective form of birth control in clinical studies.

In fact, Nexplanon is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. For more information on the effectiveness of this birth control medication, see the drug’s prescribing information.

If you have additional questions about Nexplanon’s effectiveness, talk with your doctor.

What should I know about Nexplanon vs. Implanon?

Both Nexplanon and Implanon are birth control implants that contain the active drug etonogestrel. However, Implanon has been discontinued, so it’s no longer available for use.

The only difference between Nexplanon and Implanon is that Nexplanon is safer for your doctor to insert. This is because it comes in a preloaded applicator device. This device helps your doctor insert the implant more safely compared with Implanon.

Other than that, there aren’t any differences between Nexplanon and Implanon.

If you’d like to know more about Nexplanon versus Implanon, talk with your doctor.

Is Nexplanon a hormonal drug?

Yes, Nexplanon is a hormonal form of birth control. It contains the active drug etonogestrel, which is a progestin. Progestins are lab-made forms of progesterone.

If you’re interested in using a nonhormonal form of birth control, talk with your doctor. They may recommend a nonhormonal birth control method, such as:

Does Nexplanon cause hair loss, vaginal discharge, or vaginal dryness?

It’s possible that Nexplanon may increase your risk of hair loss. This wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Nexplanon. However, hair loss was reported by people using this drug after it was approved for use.

Vaginal discharge and vaginal dryness also weren’t reported as side effects in Nexplanon’s clinical studies. However, Nexplanon may cause irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting. This can look like a reddish-brown discharge.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms with Nexplanon, talk with your doctor. They can help you determine what may be causing your symptoms. And they can recommend ways to help ease them.

Are there long-term side effects of Nexplanon?

It’s possible for Nexplanon to cause long-term side effects. However, most side effects reported in clinical studies are short term. Or, they may go away after your body adjusts to the drug.

Some possible long-term side effects of Nexplanon include:

Most of Nexplanon’s side effects aren’t long term. However, it’s possible to experience long-term side effects with this drug. If you’re concerned about long-term side effects, talk with your doctor.

Is Nexplanon used for endometriosis?

At this time, Nexplanon is only approved to prevent pregnancy. It’s not approved to treat endometriosis. (This condition can cause pelvic pain, period problems, and trouble becoming pregnant.)

However, Nexplanon has been studied in people with endometriosis. In this study, the drug was effective in treating pelvic pain and pain with periods caused by endometriosis. So, it’s possible that Nexplanon may be used in the future to treat endometriosis. That said, it’s not approved for this purpose at this time.

Your doctor may recommend using Nexplanon off-label to treat endometriosis. With off-label use, a doctor prescribes a medication for a purpose other than what the drug is approved for.

If you’re interested in using Nexplanon for endometriosis, talk with your doctor. They can also tell you about other treatment options for this condition.

Nexplanon: Use for preventing pregnancy

Prescription drugs, such as Nexplanon, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used for certain conditions.

Using Nexplanon for preventing pregnancy

Nexplanon is a form of hormonal birth control that’s FDA-approved to prevent pregnancy.

It can be used by females who are able to become pregnant.* Nexplanon should not be used by females who have not started having periods yet.

Nexplanon is an implant that’s inserted into your arm by your doctor. It works to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years after it is inserted.

To learn more about insertion and removal of Nexplanon, see “Nexplanon: How it is inserted and removed” above. To find out how the drug works to prevent pregnancy, see “Nexplanon: How it works” below.

It’s important to note that Nexplanon does not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These infections may be passed through sexual contact. If you’re interested in having protection for STIs, talk with your doctor. They may recommend using another form of birth control with Nexplanon, such as condoms. See the section directly below for more information about this.

*Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the term “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Using Nexplanon with other forms of birth control

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend using a form of nonhormonal birth control with Nexplanon for a short time. They may recommend this in the following situations.

  • You first have Nexplanon inserted. If you have it inserted during the first 5 days of your period, you won’t need to use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy. However, if you have Nexplanon inserted at any other time during your menstrual cycle, you should use backup birth control for at least 7 days.
  • You’re switching from another form of hormonal birth control. Examples of other hormonal birth control drugs include the vaginal ring and birth control pills. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you use a backup form of birth control during the first week after having Nexplanon inserted.
  • You’re taking certain medications. Some medications can interact with Nexplanon and may decrease its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. To learn more about drugs that may interact with Nexplanon, see the section below called “Nexplanon: Interactions.” Talk with your doctor about whether you’ll need to use backup birth control if you’re affected by any interactions.
  • You’re unable to feel Nexplanon in your arm after it was inserted. In this case, until you’re able to see your doctor to verify where the implant is located, you should use a form of nonhormonal birth control.

Examples of nonhormonal birth control options include:

Keep in mind that Nexplanon does not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These infections may be passed through sexual contact. If you’re interested in having protection for STIs, talk with your doctor. In some cases, they may recommend using another form of birth control, such as condoms, in combination with Nexplanon. Doing this can help lower your risk for STIs.

Using Nexplanon in children

Nexplanon can be used by females who are able to become pregnant.* This includes those younger than 18 years of age who can become pregnant. Nexplanon should not be used by females who have not started having periods yet.

*Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the term “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Finding a healthcare professional for Nexplanon

You may wonder what type of doctor to see about getting Nexplanon. If you have a gynecologist, they’ll likely be able to tell you more about Nexplanon and advise if it’s a good fit for you. They can also insert the implant at their office.

If you don’t have a gynecologist, talk with your family doctor or another healthcare professional. They can help you find out more information about Nexplanon. In some cases, they may be able to prescribe Nexplanon and insert it for you. Or, they may refer you to another professional who can do this.

If you’d like help finding a doctor or other healthcare professional near you, visit our page for finding a doctor. For information on what to expect at your appointment, see our appointment guide for birth control visits.

Nexplanon: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Nexplanon to help prevent pregnancy. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Nexplanon is used for birth control. Here’s a summary of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for birth control.

To learn more about one alternative to Nexplanon, view our Nexplanon vs. Kyleena article. Kyleena is an intrauterine device (IUD) similar to the Mirena IUD.

You can ask your doctor for more information about similar options, such as the birth control injection Depo-Provera.

To learn more about other alternatives to Nexplanon, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for birth control.

Nexplanon: Cost

Like other medications, prices for Nexplanon may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

  • the medical facility where you have Nexplanon inserted
  • your insurance coverage

Cost considerations for Nexplanon

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Nexplanon.

  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Nexplanon is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Nexplanon. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Nexplanon, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. To learn about the cost of Nexplanon, visit the drug manufacturer’s website. Your doctor can tell you more about the costs related to getting this implant. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Availability of a generic form. Nexplanon doesn’t come in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Typically, generics cost less than brand-name drugs.

Nexplanon: How it works

Nexplanon is a hormonal birth control that works to prevent pregnancy

Pregnancy occurs when an egg is released by the ovary and is then fertilized by a sperm.

For pregnancy to occur, sperm has to move from the vagina through the cervix and uterus to reach and fertilize the egg. Then, the fertilized egg has to implant inside the uterus.

Nexplanon works in multiple ways to prevent pregnancy by changing conditions in your uterus and cervix. It works by:

  • preventing ovulation from occurring, so an egg isn’t released by your ovary
  • increasing the thickness of cervical mucus, helping prevent sperm from being able to move through the cervix
  • altering the uterine lining, so a fertilized egg doesn’t implant

It is important to note that Nexplanon does not work to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For more information, see the “Nexplanon: Use for preventing pregnancy” section above.

How long does Nexplanon last?

Nexplanon works to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years after it has been inserted. If you’ve had Nexplanon for 3 years, it will have to be replaced with a new implant to continue preventing pregnancy.

When you first have Nexplanon inserted, your doctor will give you a medication card that shows the date of insertion. The card will also show the date when you should have Nexplanon removed or replaced.

To learn more about Nexplanon insertion and removal, see the “Nexplanon: How it is inserted and removed” section above.

How long does Nexplanon take to start working?

If you have Nexplanon inserted within the first 5 days of your period, it begins working right away to prevent pregnancy.

However, if you have Nexplanon inserted at any other time during your menstrual cycle, it can take 7 days to begin preventing pregnancy. Due to this, your doctor will recommend that you use a backup form of birth control for the first 7 days after Nexplanon is placed.

To learn more about using other forms of birth control with Nexplanon, see the “Nexplanon: Use for preventing pregnancy” section above. Also, talk with your doctor about how soon you can expect Nexplanon to begin preventing pregnancy.

Nexplanon: Dosage

Below is some dosage information about Nexplanon. This drug is only available in one form and one strength. So, each person using it will be receiving the same dose of medication.

Nexplanon’s forms and strengths

Nexplanon is available as follows.

  • Form: implant that’s inserted under the skin of your arm
  • Strength: 68 milligrams (mg)

To learn more about Nexplanon’s insertion and removal, see the “Nexplanon: How it is inserted and removed” section above.

Nexplanon’s recommended dosage

The recommended dosage of Nexplanon to prevent pregnancy in females* is described below.

  • Dose: one implant, containing 68 mg of etonogestrel
  • Frequency: inserted once every 3 years

*Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the term “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Nexplanon’s dosage.

  • Missing an appointment to receive Nexplanon. If you miss your appointment to have Nexplanon inserted, reschedule the appointment as soon as you remember. If it’s been longer than 3 years since an existing Nexplanon was placed, use backup birth control until your appointment.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Nexplanon as a long-term form of birth control. It works for up to 3 years to prevent pregnancy. After 3 years, you can have Nexplanon replaced to continue preventing pregnancy. You’ll likely use this drug long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for you.

Nexplanon: Using while pregnant

Nexplanon is a form of birth control, so it works to prevent pregnancy. You should not use Nexplanon if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Before you start using Nexplanon, your doctor may recommend that you take a pregnancy test. This helps ensure you aren’t pregnant before starting to use this form of birth control.

Keep in mind that Nexplanon is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. In fact, no birth control method is. Even though Nexplanon is over 99% effective, there’s still a small chance you could become pregnant while using it.

If you become pregnant while using Nexplanon, see your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend that you have Nexplanon removed. This is because the purpose of Nexplanon is to prevent pregnancy. If you’re already pregnant, Nexplanon isn’t working for any purpose.

It’s important to note that so far, clinical studies do not show an increased risk of congenital anomalies (commonly known as birth defects) in pregnancies exposed to Nexplanon.

Nexplanon and birth control needs

Nexplanon is a form of birth control, so it works to prevent pregnancy. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you use another form of birth control with it. They may suggest this when you first start using Nexplanon.

For more information, see the “Nexplanon: Use for preventing pregnancy” section above.

Nexplanon and fertility

Nexplanon works to prevent pregnancy. So during the time you’re using Nexplanon, your fertility will be decreased. (Fertility describes the ability to become pregnant or get someone pregnant.)

However, this effect is temporary. Once Nexplanon is removed, your fertility should return to its usual state.

Nexplanon: Using while breastfeeding

It’s likely safe to use Nexplanon while you’re breastfeeding.

Etonogestrel, the active drug in Nexplanon, is present in breast milk. However, clinical studies have not shown an increase in side effects in children exposed to the drug through breast milk. Additionally, etonogestrel may decrease the amount of breast milk your body makes.

If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor to see if it’s safe for you to use Nexplanon. If you have concerns about how much breast milk your body makes, tell your doctor.

Nexplanon: Consuming alcohol during treatment

Alcohol isn’t known to interact with Nexplanon. If you’d like to drink alcohol while you’re using Nexplanon, talk with your doctor. They can recommend how much alcohol may be safe for you to consume.

Nexplanon: Interactions

Nexplanon may interact with other medications, certain supplements, and some foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

Some medications may decrease the effectiveness of Nexplanon to prevent pregnancy. Ask your doctor about whether you’ll need to use backup birth control if you’re affected by any interactions.

  • Nexplanon and other medications. Because Nexplanon may interact with the following drugs, your doctor may recommend that you don’t take it with these medications. Examples include:
    • certain HIV medications, such as etravirine (Intelence), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), nevirapine (Viramune), and efavirenz (Sustiva)
    • certain seizure medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and topiramate (Topamax), and barbiturates including phenobarbital, oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), felbamate (Felbatol), rufinamide (Banzel), and lamotrigine (Lamictal)
    • the pulmonary arterial hypertension drug bosentan (Tracleer)
    • certain medications used for infections, such as antibiotics or antifungals including rifampin (Rimactane), voriconazole (Vfend), griseofulvin (Fulvicin P/G), rifabutin (Mycobutin), ketoconazole (Extina), fluconazole (Diflucan), and itraconazole (Sporanox)
    • the nausea and vomiting drug aprepitant (Emend)
    • the organ transplant drug cyclosporine (Gengraf)
  • Nexplanon and herbs and supplements. Certain herbs and supplements may interact with Nexplanon. Examples include:
  • Nexplanon and foods. Certain medications interact with foods. Examples of foods that may affect Nexplanon include:
  • Nexplanon and lab tests. In some cases, medications can affect the results of certain lab tests. This is possible with Nexplanon and lab tests for the following:
    • thyroxine (a thyroid hormone that is also called T4)
    • sex hormone-binding globulin (a protein that attaches to certain hormones)

Nexplanon: Precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before using Nexplanon. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Liver problems or liver tumors. Nexplanon may increase your risk of liver disease. If you have liver problems or a liver tumor, using Nexplanon may worsen your condition. If you have a liver tumor, your doctor will likely not prescribe Nexplanon. Talk with your doctor to see if Nexplanon is safe for you if you have any liver problems.
  • Hormone-sensitive cancer, including breast cancer. Nexplanon affects certain hormone levels in your body. If you have or have had a type of cancer that’s affected by hormones, Nexplanon may increase your risk of the cancer worsening or coming back. This includes breast cancer. Due to this risk, your doctor will likely recommend a form of birth control other than Nexplanon for you.
  • Blood clots. Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had blood clots. Nexplanon may increase your risk of blood clots. If you have a history of clots, your risk of having them again may be increased with Nexplanon. In this case, your doctor may recommend a different birth control option for you.
  • Vaginal bleeding. If you have vaginal bleeding and don’t know what’s causing it, your doctor will recommend that you don’t use Nexplanon. First, you should find out what’s causing the bleeding. In some rare cases, vaginal bleeding could be due to serious conditions such as cancer. Your doctor will help you determine the cause of your vaginal bleeding before recommending that you use Nexplanon.
  • Diabetes or prediabetes. Nexplanon may increase your blood sugar level. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you already have high blood sugar levels. So, using Nexplanon may worsen your diabetes or prediabetes. Talk with your doctor to see if Nexplanon is a safe option for you.
  • High cholesterol or high triglycerides. If you have high cholesterol or high triglycerides, tell your doctor before using Nexplanon. Nexplanon may increase your cholesterol or triglyceride level. If you already have a high level, the drug could make your level even higher. Talk with your doctor to see if Nexplanon is safe for you to use.
  • Gallbladder problems. If you have gallbladder problems, tell your doctor before using Nexplanon. This drug may increase your risk of gallbladder problems. If you already have gallbladder issues, Nexplanon may make them worse. Talk with your doctor to see if Nexplanon is safe for you to use.
  • Kidney problems. Nexplanon may increase the risk of high blood pressure, and having kidney problems may further increase this risk. If you have any kidney problems, tell your doctor before using Nexplanon. In this case, your doctor may recommend a different form of birth control for you.
  • Mood problems or depression. Nexplanon may increase the risk of mood problems, including depression. If you already have these conditions, Nexplanon may worsen them. Talk with your doctor to see if it’s safe for you to use Nexplanon.
  • High blood pressure. Nexplanon can increase your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, this drug may raise your blood pressure even more. Talk with your doctor to see if it’s safe for you to use Nexplanon.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Nexplanon if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. Nexplanon is used to prevent pregnancy, so you should not use this drug if you’re already pregnant. If you’d like to learn more, view the “Nexplanon: Using while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It may be safe to breastfeed while using Nexplanon. If you’d like to learn more about using Nexplanon while breastfeeding, view the “Nexplanon: Using while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Nexplanon that could be harmful, see the “Nexplanon: Side effects” section above.

Nexplanon: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Nexplanon, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Nexplanon could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How can I switch from my current birth control method to Nexplanon?
  • Do I need to use backup birth control after having Nexplanon inserted?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant while using Nexplanon?
  • How can I manage side effects of Nexplanon?

Your doctor may also tell you about other options for birth control. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative birth control drugs. And check out our selection of videos on birth control options.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Apr 4
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.