Background: Long-acting reversible methods of contraception can potentially reduce unintended pregnancy. There are few data on "real-life" continuation rates of the contraceptive implant Implanon.
Materials and methods: Three hundred twenty-four women choosing Implanon in a community family planning clinic in Scotland were followed up by case note review (n=236) or postal questionnaire (n=87) 3 years after insertion of the implant (1 woman chose not to disclose her home address).
Results: Data were available for 85% of the women. Continuation rates were 89% (CI 84-91) at 6 months, 75% (CI 69-79) at 1 year, 59% (CI 52-63) at 2 years and 47% (CI 40-52) at 2 years and 9 months. Of the 68 women who discontinued Implanon within 1 year, 62 (91%) did so because of unwanted side effects, the most common being frequent and/or unpredictable bleeding (n=42, 62%). Almost half changed to a less-effective method of contraception; however, one third (n=99, 39%) chose to use a second implant when the first one expired.
Conclusions: Continuation rates of Implanon in this clinic setting in the UK make it a cost-effective method of contraception and justify its widespread provision.