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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BEESHAM, I et al. Reasons for requesting removal of the hormonal implant, Implanon NXT, at an urban reproductive health clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.10, pp.750-755. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. The contraceptive implant, Implanon NXT, was introduced in South Africa (SA) in 2014 and, although it offers multiple advantages, users may request to have it removed early for several reasons. The number of insertions of Implanon NXT has declined in SA and there have been concerns about early removals. OBJECTIVES. To gain an understanding of patterns of Implanon NXT use, reasons for requesting removal and duration of use at the time of requesting removal. METHODS. This was a cross-sectional study conducted at an urban public-sector reproductive health clinic in the eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal, SA. A total of 120 women >18 years of age requesting removal of Implanon NXT completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire that probed experiences of use and reasons for removal. Data were collected electronically on Wits REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) and analysed using Stata 14 (StataCorp, USA). The study was conducted from 2017 to 2018. RESULTS. A total of 120 women were interviewed. Their mean age was 28 (range 19 - 44) years and most women (n=103; 85.8%) had completed secondary school. The majority were black (n=115; 95.8%) and unmarried (n=102; 85%). Implants had been inserted primarily by nurses (n=110; 91.7%) at public-sector clinics (n=91; 75.8%). Three-quarters of the women (n=91; 75.8%) requested removal of Implanon NXT because it had reached the intended 3-year duration. Reasons for early removal were mainly due to side-effects, e.g. bleeding problems (n=19; 15.8%), weight gain (n=7; 5.8%), loss of libido (n=2; 1.7%), headaches (n=5; 4.2%), dizziness (n=4; 3.3%) and pain/numbness in the arm (n=2; 1.7%). Just more than half (57.1%) of the women who had received the implant for the intended 3-year duration had requested reinsertion of Implanon NXT. CONCLUSIONS. The main reason for requesting removal was that Implanon NXT had reached its intended 3-year duration, and more than half of the women requested reinsertion of the device following removal. Implanon NXT is a highly effective, safe, acceptable, long-acting contraceptive and important in the SA contraceptive method mix.

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