Advantages and disadvantages


  • it works for 3 years
  • it doesn’t interrupt sex
  • it’s an option if you can’t use oestrogen-based contraception, such as the combined contraceptive pill, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring
  • it’s safe to use while you’re breastfeeding
  • your fertility will return to normal as soon as the implant is taken out
  • it may reduce heavy periods or painful periods


  • you may experience temporary side effects during the first few months, like headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings
  • your periods may be irregular or stop altogether
  • you may get acne or your acne might get worse
  • you’ll need a small procedure to have it fitted and removed
  • it doesn’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use additional contraception (such as condoms) as well

Key points

It can be useful for women who can’t use contraception that contains oestrogen and can be taken out if you have side effects. A common side effect is that your periods stop (amenorrhoea). It’s not harmful, but you may want to consider this before deciding to have an implant.
Most women can be fitted with the contraceptive implant but it may not be suitable if you:

  • don’t want your periods to change
  • some medicines can make the implant less effective. These include complementary remedies, such as St John’s Wort, some antibiotics such as rifabutin or rifampicintake and medicines for HIV, epilepsy and tuberculosis. If you’re taking any of these medicines, you’ll need additional contraception (such as condoms), or you may wish to use a different method of contraception that isn’t affected by your medicine.
  • have unexplained bleeding in between periods or after sex
  • have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke
  • have liver disease
  • have breast cancer or have had it in the past
  • have a medical condition that may affect which contraception you can use – speak to your GP or practice nurse, or visit your nearest sexual health clinic to discuss further