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Reasons for discontinuation of implanon among users in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa: a cross-sectional study

Khungelwa Patricia Mrwebi
Daniel Ter Goon
Eyitayo Omolara Owolabi
Oladele Vincent Adeniyi
Eunice Seekoe
Anthony Idowu Ajayi


Early discontinuation of implanon, a long-acting, reversible contraceptive among reproductive age women in South Africa is a serious public health concern. The aim of this study was to examine the reasons for discontinuation of implanon among its previous users. This descriptive cross-sectional study involved 188 consecutively selected participants in two large family planning clinics in Buffalo Metropolitan Municipality, East London, South Africa. Descriptive statistics was conducted using SPSS version 22.0. The mean duration of use was 11.2±7.1 months. Side effects such as heavy bleeding, severe headache and painful arm were the main reasons for discontinuation of implanon (71.3%). Some participants discontinued implanon because they were receiving other medical treatments: 24 participants on the anti-retroviral drugs, one on antipsychotic and antituberculosis drugs, respectively, necessitating removal. Few participants reported wrong positioning (3.2%) and desire for more pregnancies (4.3%) as reasons for discontinuation. The side effects of implanon were the reason for early discontinuation of implanon among women who still needed contraception. Pre-insertion counselling should empower women towards making informed decision on discontinuation and transition to other options.

Keywords: Contraceptive methods, Discontinuation, Implanon, Long-acting reversible contraception, South Africa

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eISSN: 1118-4841