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Mechanism Of Action
Exposure-response relationships of NEXPLANON are unknown.
After subdermal insertion of the etonogestrel implant, etonogestrel is released into the circulation and is approximately 100% bioavailable.
In a three year clinical trial, NEXPLANON and the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON) yielded comparable systemic exposure to etonogestrel. For NEXPLANON, the mean (± SD) maximum serum etonogestrel concentrations were 1200 (± 604) pg/mL and were reached within the first two weeks after insertion (n=50). The mean (± SD) serum etonogestrel concentration decreased gradually over time, declining to 202 (± 55) pg/mL at 12 months (n=41), 164 (± 58) pg/mL at 24 months (n=37), and 138 (± 43) pg/mL at 36 months (n=32). For the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), the mean (± SD) maximum serum etonogestrel concentrations were 1145 (± 577) pg/mL and were reached within the first two weeks after insertion (n=53). The mean (± SD) serum etonogestrel concentration decreased gradually over time, declining to 223 (± 73) pg/mL at 12 months (n=40), 172 (± 77) pg/mL at 24 months (n=32), and 153 (± 52) pg/mL at 36 months (n=30).
The pharmacokinetic profile of NEXPLANON is shown in Figure 20.
Figure 20: Mean (± SD) Serum Concentration-Time
Profile of Etonogestrel After Insertion of NEXPLANON During 3 Years of Use
The apparent volume of distribution averages about 201 L. Etonogestrel is approximately 32% bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and 66% bound to albumin in blood.
In vitro data shows that etonogestrel is metabolized in liver microsomes by the cytochrome P450 3A4 isoenzyme. The biological activity of etonogestrel metabolites is unknown.
The elimination half-life of etonogestrel is approximately 25 hours. Excretion of etonogestrel and its metabolites, either as free steroid or as conjugates, is mainly in urine and to a lesser extent in feces. After removal of the implant, etonogestrel concentrations decreased below sensitivity of the assay by one week.
In clinical trials of up to 3 years duration that involved 923 subjects, 18-40 years of age at entry, and 1756 women-years of use with the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), the total exposures expressed as 28-day cycle equivalents by study year were:
Year 1: 10,866 cycles
Year 2: 8581 cycles
Year 3: 3442 cycles
The clinical trials excluded women who:
- Weighed more than 130% of their ideal body weight
- Were chronically taking medications that induce liver enzymes
In the subgroup of women, 18-35 years of age at entry, 6 pregnancies during 20,648 cycles of use were reported. Two pregnancies occurred in each of Years 1, 2, and 3. Each conception was likely to have occurred shortly before or within 2 weeks after removal of the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant. With these 6 pregnancies, the cumulative Pearl Index was 0.38 pregnancies per 100 women-years of use.
Return To Ovulation
In clinical trials with the non-radiopaque etonogestrel implant (IMPLANON), the etonogestrel levels in blood decreased below sensitivity of the assay by one week after removal of the implant. In addition, pregnancies were observed to occur as early as 7 to 14 days after removal. Therefore, a woman should re-start contraception immediately after removal of the implant if continued contraceptive protection is desired.
Implant Insertion And Removal Characteristics
Out of 301 insertions of the NEXPLANON implant in a clinical trial, the mean insertion time (from the removal of the protection cap of the applicator until retraction of the needle from the arm) was 27.9 ± 29.3 seconds. After insertion, 300 out of 301 (99.7%) NEXPLANON implants were palpable. The single, non-palpable implant was not inserted according to the instructions.
For 112 out of 114 (98.2%) subjects in 2 clinical trials for whom insertion and removal data were available, NEXPLANON implants were clearly visible with use of two-dimensional x-ray after insertion. The two implants that were not clearly visible after insertion were clearly visible with two-dimensional x-ray before removal.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/21/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Nexplanon Information
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