Implanon: ‘Cool Contraceptive for Girls’ Causes Anxiety & Depression

Leslie Carol Botha: Had an email from my long-time colleague and fellow menstrual health advocate, Renate Klein from Australia the other night asking me if I heard any news about girls committing suicide while on Implanon. [Sorry Merck & Co. if this is giving Implanon and you company a bad rap – but I have been repeatedly giving you a bad rap for pushing the Gardasil HPV vaccine on unsuspecting girls for years – so get over it. Oh, and one more think I thing pushing this implant on innocent girls who are too young to advocate condom use for themselves to prevent STD’s  and then stand on the the other side of the fence and push an STD vaccine is unethical and immoral.]

I digress… back to my story.  I did some quick research knowing how many women are currently struggling with other forms of synthetic birth control including Depo, birth control pills, IUD’s and the patch. Found a web site with hundreds of comments from girls and their mothers with complaints about Implanon. And one mother even said ‘one of these days a girl is going to commit suicide on this device.’

That is more blood on your hands Merck.

Renate pointed me to this article that she wrote and published in 2008. The link to the comments of girls having problems with Implanon are below.

Implanon – just slip it in?

Science Alert

Over the past weeks Implanon, the three-year contraceptive implant, has been in the media spotlight. It was reported that 12-year old Aboriginal girls were “temporarily sterilised” with Implanon in a number of Queensland and Northern Territory remote communities (see, for instance, Tim Dick in The Sydney Morning Herald, April 16, 2008).

This issue raises serious questions about health professionals aiding and abetting sex under the legal age of 16. It also reminds us that the law is often not enforced and males who have sex with underage girls get away without prosecution. However, other than reporting that some of these young girls were found with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Implanon itself was not queried for its medical problems.

As Implanon is gaining widespread currency as the new “cool” contraceptive for young women everywhere in Australia, it warrants a closer look at what it is and what it does.

Implanon is a second generation progesterone-like contraceptive implant. Its ingredient Etonogestrel is very similar to the Depot progesterone in Depo Provera and Levonorgestrel in the discredited Norplant (which caused blindness in women and was taken off the US market in 2002 but is now making its comeback as Norplant-II in Europe).

Implanon consists of a 40mm single polymer rod that is injected under the skin in a girl’s/woman’s upper arm where it can be felt. It can migrate and may be hard to find if she wants to have the rod removed before its three-year effectiveness has run out. Health providers need to be instructed in both implantation and removal.

Implanon was approved in Australia in 2001 and has since become one of the most favoured contraceptive options by reproductive choice groups. In 45 years on: What now in Contraceptives?, a widely-distributed free booklet available in GP surgeries published in 2007 by the National Council of Women in Australia, Implanon is listed as the number one non-daily method.

Its advantages are described as:

  • convenience – not having to remember to take anything;
  • long duration of use;
  • reliability; and
  • fertility returns quickly upon removal of implant.

All points that may especially appeal to young girls and women who have grown up with the “one stop-quick-fix-no-bother” approach to life.

Indeed, featured in the booklet as “Being a busy girl …”, is Biana Dye, presenter of Nova radio, a station for the young. She is excited about Implanon: “What a cool concept not having to worry about contraception for three years.”

The only disadvantage the booklet includes is that the “menstrual cycle is altered and some women have irregular periods.”

Throughout the booklet, Implanon is then repeatedly mentioned as the latest exciting contraceptive choice. Unfortunately, underplaying risk and adverse effects does no service to girls and women. In June 2003, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) mentioned in theirAdverse Drug Reactions Bulletin that they had received 130 adverse reaction reports, 37 of which related to prolonged bleeding between two and 26 weeks. (33 of the 37 women had their implant removed.) Other well known adverse effects, listed by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration who only approved Implanon in July 2006) include “increased or decreased bleeding frequency including amenorrhea (no periods), headaches, acne and emotional lability [mood swings].”

The problems don’t stop there. As with the three-month injection Depo Provera (also still widely administered to girls and women of all ethnicities) there is the serious problem of potential bone mineral density (BMD) loss. Because Implanon has only been on the market since 1998 (in Europe), it will be years before Implanon users will know whether the oestrogen decreasing mechanism of this synthetic progestin will significantly reduce BMD.

Read full article…


Read the 392 comments about Implanon, anxiety and depression.
Can the contraceptive implant implanon cause anxiety and depression?





Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.


  1. Geraldine says:

    My daughter had implant done in January this year Since then has turned into an emotional wreck Constant uncontrollable weeping major mood swings self harming incidents Keeps asking whats wrong with her and begging for help to become normal again Suggested removing implant but she hasnt Need to know if it can exceberate feelings of anxiety low moods OCD and feelings of no control over her life and emotions I think its the implant

  2. Worried about daughter Since having implant in January has been suffering from extreme uncontrollable mood swings Incessant weeping ,OCD ,extreme anxiety ,major panic attacks ,unexplained fears insomnia and suicidal tendencies.

  3. Hello, Geraldine – I would concur with you. It appears she may be having an adverse reaction to the implant.
    Since I do not have enough information to fully understand the situation, I am including this link where you can try and find out why this adverse reaction is occurring.
    It might have something to do with timing and her previous form of birth control.

    Please make sure she gets some medical attention for her moods, depression and suicidal tendencies until we get this sorted out.
    Do you know if the implant has progestin in it – or is it estrogen based?

    What is the brand name.
    Maybe I can track down more information.

    Please stay in touch.
    Email me at


  4. I’ve long suspected the Yasmin pill makes me depressed. My dr suggested Implanon when I refused to take Yasmin any more. I’m perfectly fine & dandy when I’m not taking any hormones & repeatedly informed him I was worried about becoming depressed again after being hormone free & happy.

    Well this is week 2 of the implant in my arm & I nearly drove myself to the cliffs near the beach tonight. My mind tried to trick me, like “Oh it’ll be nice to watch the ships at night, it’s a beautiful vista”. There’s no reason to drive to a known suicide spot in the middle of the night, in the rain, after crying for 2 hours, yet my mind is trying to convince me to grab my keys & drive.

    Anyway I’ll be fine. I’ll have a sleeping pill & knock myself out so I don’t risk doing anything stupid in the moment. Then tomorrow I’ll get a dr to remove it. Luckily I’m in Australia so that’s not a monumental or expensive task. I’ve also jotted all this down so I can express it adequately if there’s a problem getting someone to remove it.

  5. Hi Gemma – thank you for sharing. And thank you for being strong enough to fend off your racing mind. Beautifully written by the way. Did you get the implant out of your arm? This is the craziest thing… birth control – once in women’s control is now in doctor’s control and is controlling our minds, moods, and behaviors. I would say that is a backlash against women right? Personally, I would stay away from any contraceptive device that I do not have control of. PERIOD. I would not want to argue with a doc about being “fine & dandy” when not on hormones and then have to go back and argue to get the damn thing out. If I had to do that – I would be driving the doc to the cliffs on the beach. PERIOD.

    Please come back and let us know you are ok – and that your doc took out the device.

    Hormone regards,


  6. i inserted my implant last year and i had not had periods for one year. I started having them again in july and ever since av had periods and they only skip one week and they come again should i be worried and have the implant removed.please advice.

  7. Hi Everlyn – The implant contains a synthetic progesterone – called progestin. It essentially shuts down your production of progesterone. However, progesterone is needed to maintain the health of the uterine lining. When there is not enough progesterone women hemorrhage- which is what is happening in your case. I would suggest that you look at other options and make sure you are not getting a form of birth control that contains progestin. The Depo Provera shot and the Mirena IUD are both progestin based. All of these forms of birth control may lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.

    Hormone regards,


  8. Hi,
    I was put on the implant 6 weeks ago. I was on the pill but despite thinking I was taking it regularly, I found myself to be pregnant. Being on the implant, i have notice serious mood changes – constant weeping, upsetting thoughts – I don’t know what to do. I have been having constant bleeding since it was taken out too and I am also on the combined pill in attempts to stop this bleeding. I want it taken out as before I got it inserted I was a happy person constantly, was never angry or upset unless for good reason. Now I seem to be angry and upset for no good reason at all. Do you know if there is any birth control that will both ensure I don’t get pregnant and stop all of these emotions? And why is it that the implant is causing all of these mood changes?
    Thank you for the post as I now know what must be causing my mood changes.

  9. Hi Kate – yes, it is the progestin (synthetic progesterone) in the implant that you are having an adverse reaction to. Many women do. I highly recommend that copper IUD vs synthetic hormones. Nothing is 100% safe for birth control – which amazes me all of these years. The reason you have constant bleeding is because your production of progesterone has been shut down. I suggest heading over to the health food store and purchasing natural progesterone cream to stimulate your progesterone production. Dr. Michael Platt has a lot of great information on this.

    You need progesterone to keep the uterine lining intact. The lack of this hormone can cause heavy bleeding.
    Does not sound like you are a good candidate for progestin methods of BC. You are not alone. Also check out the information on this site

    And always increase your micronutrient intake. This is crucial. Synthetic hormone deplete vital nutrients in the body.

    Hope this helps,

    Hormone regards,


  10. My daughter had this put in immediately after having my granddaughter she was 17 years old. She was a happy vibrant cheerleader. Since having this implant in she has had severe depression and anxiety. Today was the second time in two years she has tried to commit suicide. The doctor’s will not listen to me about my concerns. She has SO many of the side effects… Severe migraines, she is always tired, she goes from happy to an emotional wreck in less than a minute, she cries all the time. I am So scared I am going to lose my daughter because of this but because she is considered an adult I have no say. I’m at a loss

  11. Please point your granddaughter to this web site – There are many women who suffer from extreme hormone imbalance – it is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder – PMDD. And many experience suicidal ideation. There are many groups on FB who are dealing with women who are suffering and who reach out to each other when they are in crisis.

    Implanon contains a synthetic progesterone hormone (progestin) that is causing havoc on these girls. Our body needs progesterone. PERIOD. `Not sure what your docs are thinking – but they are not helping. When a woman is pregnant her progesterone levels rise 10x’s normal levels. Then they drop post pregnancy. For some women this is like free falling off Mt. Everest. Then add the Implanon which shuts down what ever progesterone production that is left… and your daughter is on a continual free-fall.

    I will talk to her. She needs immediate help. Migraines – too much estrogen – emotions lack of progesterone. Add to that the depletion of micronutrients during pregnancy. Chances are your daughter did not have enough nutrients going into the pregnancy (most of us are nutritionally depleted these days due to a lack of a good diet) and that developing fetus took ever vitamin, mineral and amino acid out of her body for the health of the body. And she is left with whatever. Which is not much.

    I recommend this product immediately If you cannot get her to take it… break the damn capsule open and sprinkle on her food.

    If you cannot do that – get some Himalayan salt (packed with minerals which is what the brain needs) and add to her food generously. It does not taste like table salt and it will not ruin the food. She desperately needs minerals for her emotions.

    Get the implant out of her arm. I do not know what doctors are thinking. The body goes through a roller coaster with pregnancy and then add this synthetic hormone? It is dangerous and crazy. And she needs to regulate her hormones post-pregnancy. She can use a non-hormonal IUD.

    Did she have the Gardasil vaccine as well? Gardasil is a known endocrine disruptor.

    She has to get off the Implanon. She is having an adverse reaction.

    Please email me at and I will be glad to give you my phone number so we can talk. If you feel your daughter’s life is at risk – you do have a say – no matter what age she is. PERIOD. She is not herself. And you are her lifeline.

    Hormone regards,


  12. I have had the implant for about 7 months now. Within the past 2 months my anxiety had gotten so bad to the point of panic attacks. I’ve only had 2 but they are so severe I almost want to go to the hospital when I have them. I’ve been scared to drive or go out in public. Thinking about self harm. Things I have never thought about before. I’m going to get the implant out today praying and hoping that this is the reason for me not wanting to get out of bed.

  13. Kate – so glad you reached out. You are having an obvious reaction to the implant and it should be taken out. I hope you moved forward with that. The implant suppressed progesterone which is so necessary for your moods and behaviors. Please read this article on the 7 Superpowers of Progesterone – by a highly respected naturopath… and you may also seek out advice from a naturopath in your area.

    Try getting some natural progesterone from the health food store. It is also called Wild Yam cream and see if your symptoms abate. Apply as directed.
    My suggestion is to stay away from progestin based birth control – mini pill – Depo Provera and the Mirena IUD.

    Hormone regards,


  14. Hi L, today I’m feeling worse than I’ve ever felt since getting the Implanon implant, about 2 years ago. I have no direction, ambition or focus. I don’t know this person I’ve become. Overweight, aches all over especially down the left side of my body and legs, painfully bloated all the time…I’m taking it out myself as I don’t see a nurse at our free clinics doing a better job. Enough is enough and I’m never going on any hormonal contraceptives again….my eyes have been opened.

  15. Oh Vanessa – Surely you can get a professional to help you take the Implanon out. Are you ok? Implanon is not the method of birth control for you. What you are experiencing are adverse reactions to the synthetic progesterone. Glad your eyes have been opened but now you need to be accountable for having sex. Your partner needs to be accountable as well. And if you have taken the Implanon out you need to make sure you do not have unprotected sex. Since ovulation has been suppressed by the Implanon you do not know if you will ovulate tomorrow – or in 100 days from now – and/or any day in between. So it is important to use another method of birth control every time you have sex.

    Keep us posted on how you are doing.

    Hormone regards,


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