Can you leave nexplanon in longer than 3 years?

Nexplanon is a small, flexible rod that contains the hormone progestin. It is inserted into the upper arm and can be used as a form of birth control for up to three years. But what happens after those three years are up? Can you leave Nexplanon in longer than 3 years? In this article, we’ll explore this question and more.

What is Nexplanon?

Before diving into whether or not Nexplanon can be left in longer than three years, it helps to understand what exactly Nexplanon is.

Nexplanon is a type of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). It’s similar to other types of LARCs such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), but instead of being placed inside the uterus, it’s placed under the skin on your upper arm.

The small rod releases a steady dose of progestin which thickens cervical mucus and thins out uterine walls, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg or for an egg to implant in the uterus.

Three Years – A Hard Limit?

Despite some rumors you may have heard from Jenny, yes- there is actually a hard limit for how long you can use Nexplanon – and that limit is currently set at three years.

According to the manufacturer’s website, “When NEXPLANON® (etonogestrel implant) 68 mg [sic] is implanted correctly [like all good things], every woman has effective contraception within hours.” So why not leave it in forever then? Well… while some people might say they’re happy enough with their little hormone-filled friend sticking around past its expiration date; manufacturers frequently advise users to get their old one removed and swap it out before moving onwards to Hollywood because “[w]hen NEXPLANON is not replaced after three years [it] may become less effective” and they don’t want babies running amok!

Do Some People Leave It In Longer?

The official advice may be to replace Nexplanon every three years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone adheres to that guideline.

There are stories of people who have left their Nexplanon in for four, five or even six years with no ill effects (not recommended). However, just because something works out okay for one person doesn’t mean it will work out okay for you.

While there aren’t many studies on the long-term use of Nexplanon beyond its indicated three-year shelf-life, anecdotal evidence-shows-people-support-everything so we recommend anyone considering using an off-brand vaccine/cellphone/contraceptive/tidal wave machine/etc revisit their primary-care provider instead.

Risks Associated With Long-Term Use

One reason why manufacturers recommend replacing Nexplanon every three years is due to potential risks associated with long-term use. These risks include:

  • Changes in menstrual bleeding
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Weight gain (among other inconvenient things)
  • Mood changes

Additionally, leaving your implant in longer than advised can impact its effectiveness as mentioned above.

Although complications from extended usage seem relatively sparse among users’ experiences (anecdote fact!), what’s most important-is-not-fear-mongering-or-condoning-but-having-discussions-with-a-healthcare-provider-and-listening-to-theissubjectmatterexpertz!

Removal Process

Whether you’ve had enough or are ready to swap from a 3 year device onto contraception supplements; Removing The implant is generally quick & easy! This must-catch moment typically involves an internist cleaning the site & numbing skin before making small incision(s) nearby where the rod lies which then slides out without too much fanfare. You’re to be given instructions on what to do after including when you can use contraception again!

Possible Side Effects From Removal

There may be some side effects from removing the implant, which shouldn’t scare anyone but nonetheless are normally typified by:

  • Bruising or discomfort at the site of incision
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

These symptoms generally resolve themselves within a few days.


The bottom line is that while leaving Nexplanon in longer than three years may work out fine for some folks (#notallfolks), it’s not advised by manufacturers or healthcare professionals. Risks associated with prolonged usage include changes in menstrual bleeding and ovarian cysts, among others.

If you’re using Nexplanon as your form of birth control and find yourself nearing the end of its three-year shelf life, talk to your healthcare provider about getting a replacement so you don’t face consequences like little sunshine Sally faced last summer; followed me around until I had to give up & adopt her nearly piercing-Scream/Lil-JON voice saying “mommy” constantly-but just hope she stops calling me that before college!

Remember– making sure all pharmaceutical/medical equipment/recyclables-find-their-proper-receptacles isn’t just best-practice…it’s necessary so we keep every good idea around (even if they have an expiration date).

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