Hesperian Health Guides
Implants and birth control injections
Just like the minipill, implants and birth control injections contain only progestin, but the woman does not have to remember to take a pill every day. Implants and injections are easy to keep private. Neither implants nor injections give any protection against STIs including HIV.
How to use implants or injections
Implants are small plastic tubes that a health worker places under the skin on the inside of a woman’s arm. They prevent pregnancy for 3 to 5 years, depending on the type of implant.
Birth control injections are given by health workers once every 1, 2, or 3 months, depending on the type of injection.
Implants and injections are easy to keep private, and the woman does not have to remember to take a pill every day. All implants and some injections are progestin-only. One kind of injection (monthly injections) has both progestin and estrogen, so this kind should not be used by women who cannot take combination birth control pills. A woman can decide to stop injections or remove implants at any time if she wants to become pregnant. Neither implants nor injections give any protection against STIs including HIV.
Possible side effects of implants and injections
Monthly injections may have side effects similar to combination pills. Implants and progestin-only injections have the same side effects as progestin-only minipills.
Medicines that interact with implants and injections
Ritonavir (an HIV medicine) may make monthly injections less effective, and rifampicin (a TB medicine) and some epilepsy medicines make both implants and injections less effective. If you take these medicines, use a different family planning method. Women who take insulin for diabetes may need to adjust the amount of insulin after starting implants or injections.
Ending implants or injections
To stop using implants, have them removed by a trained health worker. A woman can get pregnant right away after having an implant removed. To stop using injections, simply stop getting the injections. It may take longer for a woman to get pregnant after stopping injections, but most women can get pregnant within 1 year.