Implanon (etonogestrel implant) is a very convenient birth control option for women. Unfortunately, it can have dangerous and potentially deadly side effects and complications. It is a matchstick-sized implant that is inserted under the skin in the upper arm. It slowly releases a synthetic form of progesterone called etonogestrel, protecting against pregnancy for three years without the need for a daily pill. But the implant itself and the drug it releases both pose dangers to women who use it.
A Danish study, published in 2012, found that subcutaneous birth control implants increased the risk of developing dangerous blood clots by 40%. Clotting dangers include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – clots forming in the legs
- Pulmonary embolism (PE) – clot that travels to the lung
- Heart attack
Pseudotumor – Pressure on the Brain
Implanon has been associated with a condition called pseudotumor cerebri. Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) is increased pressure inside of the skull. It causes the symptoms of a brain tumor, but there is no tumor. It can cause swelling of the optic nerve, causing vision loss. PTC is also referred to as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) and benign intracranial hypertension (BIH).
Symptoms of PTC include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears that may pulsate with your heartbeat
- Headache which may worsen when you turn your eyes to the side
- Double vision
- Seeing flashes of light
- Other vision changes
- Neck stiffness
- Neck, shoulder or back pain
- Difficulty walking
Implanon is implanted under the skin in the inner, upper arm. After it is implanted, you should be able to feel it under the skin with your hand. If you can’t, it means the implant has probably moved and that can be a very serious problem. After migrating, implants have been found in the pulmonary artery, which is in the lung. Implanon cannot be detected with on an X-ray and requires more sophisticated imaging to locate. Sometimes it cannot be located at all.
Implanon that has migrated must be removed in a surgery that may be much more invasive and dangerous than the normal removal procedure.
Other Side Effects
Other side effects associated with Implanon include:
- Dangerously high blood pressure
- Irregular bleeding
- Infection in the arm
- Pain in the arm
- Sore breasts
- Weight gain
- Scarring or discoloration of the skin over the implant
If you or someone you love has been harmed by Implanon, please talk to an experienced implanon litigation attorney right away to learn more about your rights and potential compensation.