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News for week ending 17 May 2002


The oral contraceptive implant, Implanon, has been submitted for registration in New Zealand.

The 3cm long, plastic rod contains only a progestogen, etonorgestrel, which can inhibit ovulation for up to three years or more. A local anaesthetic injection is used before the matchstick-sized rod is inserted into a small incision above the elbow on the upper arm.

The implant is especially useful for women who can't take oestrogen because of blood clots, severe migraines, hypertension or severe diabetes.

Clinical trials have shown a zero failure rate - no pregnancies - in 2000 women in over three years. The main side effect is irregular menstrual bleeding. Less common side effects include acne, dizziness, headaches and breast pain.

Implanon (Organon) is subsidised in Australia, and about 35,000 women have been using it since its introduction in May 2001.

Organon general manager John Cameron said that Implanon has been re-submitted to Medsafe after their request for minor labelling changes. He could not comment when the product will be registered or marketed in New Zealand, as funding will have to be considered before Implanon becomes available here.

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