Nexplanon and Implanon Lawsuits

The birth control Nexplanon and Implanon (etonogestrel), manufactured by Merck & Co., are small implants placed beneath the skin on the inside of a woman’s upper arm. It may be linked to serious side effects such as blood clots and deep implant migration.

Nexplanon, Implanon and Deep Implant Migration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a safety warning regarding Nexplanon and Implanon implants. The updated safety information states that some women have reported implant migration, which means that the implant had moved within the arm from the original insertion site. This type of migration may be related to deep insertion. Other reports describe implants that were located inside of vessels in the arm or the pulmonary artery. This could be related to either deep insertion or intravascular insertion.

Nexplanon or Implanon implants that migrate to the pulmonary artery may have to be removed by an endovascular or surgical procedure. Removal of a deeply inserted Nexplanon or Implanon implant carries the risk of possible further injury to neural or vascular structures if not performed properly.

Nexplanon, Implanon, and Blood Clots

Nexplanon and Implanon may increase a woman’s risk of developing serious blood clots, even if the woman has no history of blood clots or related conditions. Findings from a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Medicine suggested that women with subcutaneous contraceptives like Nexplanon or Implanon were at a higher risk of developing serious blood clots than women using contraceptive pills. The research team responsible for this study evaluated the effects of non-oral hormonal contraceptives on women with no history of blood clots aged 15 to 49 from the years 2001 to 2010. The findings from this study suggested that “some women should shift to a contraceptive pill to reduce their risk” of blood clots.

The March 2016 FDA warning regarding Nexplanon and Implanon also detailed thrombotic and vascular events:

“There have been postmarketing reports of serious arterial thrombotic and venous thromboembolic events, including cases of pulmonary emboli (some fatal), deep vein thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and strokes, in women using etonogestrel implants. NEXPLANON (and Implanon) should be removed in the event of a thrombosis.”

Side Effects of Nexplanon and Implanon

Women with the implantable birth control Nexplanon or Implanon may experience various side effects. Some of those could include:

  • Implant migration necessitating corrective surgery
  • Serious blood clots
    • Of the legs (deep vein thrombosis)
    • Of the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
    • Of the brain (stroke)
    • Of the heart (heart attack)
    • Of the eyes (total or partial blindness)
  • Disorders of the immune system
  • Angioedema and other subcutaneous tissue disorders
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Pain in the stomach, breast, site of insertion, and during menstruation
  • Acne
  • Vaginal infections
  • Weight gain

Nexplanon vs. Implanon

Merck & Co. is the manufacturer of both Nexplanon and Implanon. The manufacturer is phasing out Implanon and has been introducing Nexplanon to take its place. While similar, key differences exist between Nexplanon and Implanon. Nexplanon, unlike Implanon, was manufactured so that it can be detected on x-ray and CT scans, making it easier to locate the device after implantation. Because Implanon is not radiopaque and thus cannot be seen on imaging tests, migration of Implanon implants often means that it cannot be located in the body and thus cannot be explanted as is required at the end of three years. Another improvement Merck made was to the preloaded applicator, which was designed to make implanting Nexplanon easier than it was for Implanon. While these updates make the device easier to detect and implant, they do not change the implant’s safety or efficacy, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

More Information About Nexplanon and Implanon Birth Control Implants

  • Manufactured and marketed by: Merck & Co.
  • FDA approval: First approved in 2001
  • Dimensions: Approximately 4cm long x 2mm wide
  • Active ingredient: Etonogestrel, a steroidal progestin
  • Length of implantation: Up to 3 years
  • Reported complications: Implant migration, serious blood clots such as thrombotic and other vascular events, anaphylactic reactions, tissue disorders, and other less severe reactions.

If you are experiencing adverse side effects related to the implant Nexplanon or Implanon, contact your doctor. After seeking medical attention, we invite you to contact the Nexplanon and Implanon attorneys at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber. Women who experienced serious side effects such as blood clot or device migration may be able to take legal action against Merck & Co. We can provide you with a free case evaluation so you can learn more about your legal rights and options.