500 Women Fall Pregnant While On Implanon Contraceptive Implant

24/03/2011 17:17 | Updated 22 May 2015

contraceptive implant failureMore than 500 women have fallen pregnant whilst using the Implanon contraceptive implant.

The implant should prevent pregnancy for three years by relasing hormones into the bloodstream via a tiny implant in the arm. But the the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) admits it has received 1,607 complaints about the implant, with more than 500 women saying they fell pregnant whilst using it.

According to new figures obtained by Channel Four news, 14 women had made claims against their local health trusts because of Implanon's failure.

Some of the 584 women who fell pregnant had terminations or suffered relationship breakdowns as a result of the stress.

The NHS has reportedly paid out more than £200,000 in compensation to seven women who fell pregnant or were injured by the implant.

MSD, which manufactured the implant, said it was replacing Implanon with a new contractive implant named Nexplanon.

In a statement, it added that the active ingredient would remain the same but, unlike Implanon, the new implant would show up on X-rays and CAT scans. The applicator has been modified, the company said.

It added that a training programme was available for health professionals involved in fitting the devices.

Family planning clinics in England have reported rapidly increased use of contraceptive implants, from 16,000 women in 2005 to nearly 82,000 in 2010. Implanon, which cost £90 per treatment, was more than 99 per cent effective.

A spokesman for the MHRA said: "The reports we received from health care professionals and consumers played a strong role in the update of the device."

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