Questioning the Benefits of Jadelle

jadelleJadelle is a contraceptive implant currently widely promoted, and available free to women in New Zealand, although associated costs such as doctors fees still need to be paid.  It is also available to beneficiaries and their daughters over the age of 16 under a scheme where all associated costs (including travel) will be paid for by WINZ.

The implant has been touted as being a solution to many of New Zealand’s social ills,  including child abuse, abortion and teenage pregnancy.  According to an article published on Stuff.co.nz, approximately 20,000 New Zealand women have had Jadelle inserted.

Jadelle’s predecessor Norplant, was surrounded with controversy.  In the US, use of this contraceptive implant ceased after more than 200 lawsuits (involving more than 50,000 women) were brought against the manufacturer Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories.  The lawsuits alleged inadequate warnings of side-effects.  Jadelle is not available in the United States, although it has been approved by its Food and Drug Administration.

How Jadelle Works:  Comprising of two rods, the device is inserted into the upper arm of women and provides contraception for up to five years.  It does this by slowly releasing into the women’s system the hormone levonorgestrel, which is a low-dose progestin.

The Jadelle implant works in three ways:

1. Inhibits ovulation;

2. Thickens cervical mucus;

3. Alters the endometrium (lining of the uterus) so that it is hostile to receiving the newly conceived human being.

The third mode of action makes this contraceptive an abortifacient.  It is highly likely that women using this implant will ovulate and conceive from time to time, therefore it is  possible for her to abort, without knowing, at least once or twice a year.

Side Effects while using Jadelle:  There are many different side-effects that can be experienced while a woman has Jadelle inserted.  These range from such things as  nausea, depression, nervousness, headaches and weight gain to pelvic pain and changes to the menses where it can become irregular,  prolonged or more frequent.  It can also lead to liver dysfunction and blood clots (thrombosis) if used when contraindicated.

Pregnancy While on Jadelle:  Recently, we have seen an increase in women (both at our Auckland and Wellington Pregnancy Centres) who have had Jadelle inserted and now find themselves pregnant.  We also have had a number of phone calls from parents of young girls as well as women who have had the implants and are now wanting to have them removed early.  Many people talk of not having all the facts at the time of insertion.  It appears too, that women are not being screened properly for medications and conditions which might contraindicate its use.

It is advised by Bayer Health Care that Jadelle should be removed immediately if the woman becomes pregnant.

At Family Life International, we have a number of questions regarding the affect the hormones in Jadelle would have on a developing preborn child.  Will the hormones affect the child’s fertility later on in life?  Will the female hormones affect the developing child who is male?  Certainly, these children should be monitored post-birth and even into adulthood.

Controversy surrounding the Removal of Jadelle:  Late last year it was revealed that between the months of January to May 2012, there were seven incidents reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring in Dunedin, where it was difficult to remove or even locate the implants.

Even more worrying, was the assertion of Dr Christine Roke, medical advisor for the Family Planning Association, that the incidence of difficulties in removing the implant could be more frequent than indicated by the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring.  “I think doctors in     practice often just get on with it and forget to report these things.”  She is reported by Stuff.co.nz to have said.

The Jadelle literature put out by Bayer Health Care assures users that the implants will not move around saying “They will remain under the skin where they are placed.  They are flexible and cannot break in your arm.  They will become naturally surrounded by a protective layer of fibrous

Clearly this assertion is not true.

One lady whom we are helping, had Jadelle inserted, and after nine months she came into our Wellington Pregnancy Centre for a pregnancy test. It was positive and after a scan, it was decided she was four months along. Considering the manufacturers’ warning to those who fall pregnant with the rods still in, she was advised immediately after the positive test to get it removed. Unfortunately there is a waiting list for removal, so she travelled to another FPA clinic to get it removed the following week. The doctor there, trained in removing Jadelle, was unsuccessful in removing the one rod visible to her. The expectant mother has now been informed by a second doctor that the rods must have fallen out and that the first doctor must have seen scar tissue. A blood test valued at $900 is available postpartum to ascertain whether or not the implant remains. Thankfully, according to the scan, baby is doing well. While trying to remain positive in the last trimester, there is still the worry of the unknown.

Clearly Jadelle’s safety and benefits for individual women should be questioned. The history of Norplant suggests that New Zealand should never have allowed this contraceptive device into the country, let alone made it free for our women. Women are clearly distressed and given the numbers we are seeing in our Centres, there are surely more out there whose stories have not yet been heard.

We believe at FLI that this method of contraception should be removed from the list of free ‘medicines’ and a greater campaign explaining the issues surrounding Jadelle’s use should be undertaken. –

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48 thoughts on “Questioning the Benefits of Jadelle

    • The Jadelle implant can prevent pregnancy. But sometimes an egg is fertilized and a new life begins. When this happens, quite often the lining of the womb will not let the newly formed life (embryo) implant and the embryo dies as it has no nourishment. This is a chemical abortion. Sometimes the embryo is able to implant and a woman remains pregnant.

      • Basically, you are against any form of hormonal contraceptive, based on notions that life begins at conception. I’d guess the original author of this piece shares that opinion, but she is choosing to talk about “safety” concerns because that has been shown to be an effective method of eliminating this hormonal contraceptive from the market, as was done in the U.S. through generating enough lawsuits to make providing the drug unprofitable. There isn’t a contraception is 100% effective. But, we know what happens when you don’t use one at all. As for risks, even getting one’s blood drawn comes with risk.

    • I have had the Jadelle for 2 months now and it has been horrible the side effects have been getting progressively worse the first thing I noticed was the constant spotting then I started noticing a change in my moods and my thinking alot more negative, My mood swings almost go into rage. I get smashing head aches my face has broken out in acne which I have never had before, i get bad abdominal pains and I constantly want to eat I have gained 5kgs since being on it and before getting it I had lost 10kgs through sports and gym which I am still doing I am still spotting 2 months later and I have had enough I am going to the doctor tomorrow to get it taken out but the doctor wants me to start some pill to balance the jadelle but I don’t want to put anymore crap in my body I just want to take it out and go back on the depo vera

  1. I am currently on the jadelle and have had them for last 2 years. I was also told that the rods will not move at all and after 2 years it has moved out of place. Migraines are worse then ever, whooping 20kgs weight gain, flutters in my tummy, heavy bleeding lasting 2 weeks with a 1 week break in between before the bleeding starts again, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, stomach cramps and pelvic pain!!! These are all my symptoms ever since inserting this crap into my body. I’ve made an appointment to get this out ASAP!! I wish the jadelle was never free in nz that way I would have never made the decision to use this. This was the first contraception I have ever used in my life and it will definitely be the last!!

  2. Has anyone become pregnant while on the jadelle ?I took a pregancy test and it came back no result I feel pregant but I’m not sure I know what it feels like coz I’ve had a baby but now I’m unsure because I’m on the jadelle

    • I feel the same as you, I have been on the depo for 1 yr and the jadelle for 2 yrs, have not had my monthly since I fell pregnant 4 yrs ago but have symptoms of being pregnant (weight gain in the last month is more then I have put on in a year, stomach has hardened, dizziness, abdominal and back cramps and fatigue) pregnancy test a month ago was negative but will be visiting my doctors soon as I have read of cases where women have gotten pregnant but still receiving negative results with pregnancy tests.

  3. Yes I am currently pregnant – I had my implants for 18 months prior to starting to feel sick, tender breasts however due to thinking I was on birth control ( it had worked up until now) did not take a pregnancy test until recently. I immediately got the wands taken out ( that was easily enough). My first scan showed me at four months pregnant. The wands must have worked for one year then ????
    We won’t know about any side effects on baby until it is here – stay positive the doctor says hmmmmmm

  4. its unfortunate for those that have had such a bad experience. ive had the jadelle now for 2 and a half years. ive not had my period ever during this time which is great as i did on pill an depo. ive not had any side effects and my rods are still in the exact same place as where they were put. its been the best decision ive ever made

  5. Are there chances of getting of getting pregnant and also are there chances of not going for your monthly periods.

  6. Hi there, if had the jadelle for about a year now… I am unsure if I through up , can I get pregnant if I have intercourse within 12 hours? Is it the same as the pill?
    Am worried

  7. I got the jadelle implanted a week before my wedding (07/03/2011). A year and a half later i had decided to take the Jadelle out as i was have 2 week periods with a 1 week break. I had put on alot of weight quickly and my moods were terrible. I went to the doctor and he was able to remove 1x implant but the other he couldn’t ‘find’. The doctor who had originally put it in my arm had inserted the jadelle too deep and the Gp was not able to find it. I was then referred to the hospital who informed me they would have to surgically remove it. I would be under anesthetic and require a cut at least 4 inches long and going to the bone to be able to find the damn thing. I got an ultrasound that showed that the Jadelle implant was infused in my muscle tissue. The Surgeon said that permanent numbness and nerve damage in my arm was quite likely. I decided not to go through with it. This was before i read the above and found out that it is a form of chemical abortion. I am strongly against abortion personally and was deeply hurt by this as i had experienced some severe periods for no reason. I am now having to go back to my Gp and get referred back to the surgeon to have it removed. The thought of how many babies i could have lost already makes me sick. I was not informed of how it actually worked. I was told that it stops you ovulating and thats it. The heart break I feel now is horrible. I want it out as soon as possible and I want some one made responsible for this!

    • As a side note, my jadelle did move at least 2 1/2 inches down my arm. God knows where it is but every now and then I am sure I can feel it moving.

  8. I had jadelle inserted last year in May are there chances of me being pregnant because of increase in urine and pains below im really worried because of the stomach pains i have also are these the symptoms of being pregnant.

    • Ive experienced the same thing (still am) at least 4 times in the 2 years ive had it. Ive just got the 1 rod in at the moment. My lower tummy feels swollen, i’m dizzy all the time, i pee ALOT and feel this almost like pressure feeling in my ovaries. All associate with pregnancy but I’ve taken tests and they all come back negative. Wondering if maybe its another side effect? I’ve had the above symptoms for 2 weeks now, also have a doctors appointment tomorrow.

  9. Wow I just got mine taken out after 2.5 years after irregular bleeding. I just started my period one day and it didn’t stop until I got it removed. But removal was easy as pie for me. Since removal though I’ve completely lost my appetite. I have to make myself eat because I know I’m hungry I just can’t tell.

    • it is amazing, I have been on jadelle for 2.10 years en experienced prolonged periods after its second year of insertion. The menses stops for 2 weeks bread en starts for two consecutive weeks. I see it a bad birth control method, have an appointment with the Doctor for the removal en won’t go for any method,… horibble!

  10. I had mine for 4 years, no period, no bad side effects. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone. I suppose, like any other birth control, different people react differently. The only reason I had it taken out was because we wanted to start a family

  11. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say
    great blog!

  12. Unfortunately I had an abort ion a treat ago and then wenot on the jadelle. I went through depression and it was really hard for me. It really upsets me to here that this thing in my arm is causing more chemical abortions. Thus year I remember 3 times I had my period for 2 weeks straight. Now I think could this be when I was having a chemical effect to a fertilized egg not being able to attachelp to the womb. I don’t know what to go on after I get this out. I got pregnant on nor a day.

  13. You guys are just trying to scare people into not getting the jadelle cause you’re totally against all forms of contraception… well let me tell you I got one in and I’ve had no problems whatsoever. It’s 99.9% effective too, which means virtually no chance of pregnancy. Very effective.

    • Definitely not trying to scare people, just ensuring that women are fully informed. You see Jadelle can be nasty – have you read some of the comments on this post? Have you read comments elsewhere? Jadelle is also not a contraceptive. Contraception is “against conception”. But sometimes new little human beings (embryos) are conceived when a woman is using Jadelle (and some other forms of birth control too). When that happens Jadelle can cause an early abortion, before implantation. And despite that action of the implant, some embryos actually implant and grow… Some mothers will have an abortion and others bring their baby to birth. By the way, we are for women understanding the awesomeness of their bodies and how they work instead of treating their fertility like a disease to be gotten rid of.

    • Nobody is trying to scare anyone. That’s great it worked for you, but for MOST people not ALL it has massive side effects. I know for me it has! I have to be put under general anesthetic to get the thing removed because the implant-er put it in incorrectly and now it is wedged into my muscle tissue. Sure that’s got nothing to do with the actual implant. However my side effects have been horrific as well.
      I’m happy that its working for you, and for all the other women its working for. I’m sure as hell not looking forward to having to find another form of contraceptive now. BUT I’d wish i had read this page before i had got it so that i was informed. Because i would have thought twice.

  14. Ive had the rod for almost 3years had no problems at all, i still get my period but its all over the place 4mnths with out a period and then i get my period. But is it normal to get my period twice in one month?

  15. I’ve had my jadelle since it first became available, at first I noticed spotting and brown discharge every now and again but since then those side effects have settled down. In have noticed that my periods are shorter and only go for about 4-5 days rather than a full week. I have had unprotected sex with my partner since a few weeks after the implant. (We get checked regularly so don’t flip out everyone). My only worry is that after I read this article I felt around where my jadelle was implanted and I can’t feel anything. I have gained at least 20kgs since then (It’s been four years and I have a bad love for all things sweet).. Not sure if its just fat covering it or if it’s moved somewhere.. or disappeared ..

  16. I got my implant in a while ago and I love it. No nasty side effects and 5 years without having to worry about getting pregnant 🙂
    So to say it shouldn’t be allowed is far too harsh in my opinion. I know several other girls who have recieved the implant over a couple of years and all of the have recommended it highly. All contraception has negative side effects, but the Jadelle implant is actually more effective than most of them. Also instances where the rods become misplaced are extremely rare, and I was forewarned about all the nasty things that could happen. I chose to get it anyway and I love it. For medical reasons I cannot have the pill or an IUD, and barrier methods can be frustrating to have to remember. I am so glad Jadelle was easily affordable and accessable because I have no idea what I would do without it. I find this article extremely biased, how can they say how horrible it is when thousands of women like me have had very positive experiences?

  17. I’ve had jadelle for 8 yrs now and I had problem of frequent menses but ever since then I’ve had no problems.my first implants were removed in 2011 and new ones where inserted,only now I have stopped working I’m a full time house wife I’ve jus noticed tht I have late periods and my tummy feels hard and I’m gaining some weight.coould I be posible preg?I’m worried I don’t want to be pregnant I have 2 kids already and I’m scared to do a preg test.

  18. Hey there, I have had the jadelle implant for 2 years and 6 months it gave me sever abdomen pain ,vomiting, feeling boosted, depression , pain in my arm, back pain and i dnt c my period at all I use to wonder sometime if I am pregnant but the tests comes back negative every time I check.I recently removed mine because the pains are unbearable.

  19. I had my jadelle in for 2 years and just recently had it removed I had a couple days with brown discharge and slight bit of red blood but since then no period is this normal after removal

  20. I ‘had jadelle rods inserted. For the first 3mnths i had some severe menses close to a month & it was stressing. Went back to the clinic where i had had it implanted& they told me to stop stressing. Since then no stress; no severe menses. Except that now my breasts are so tender as if im pregnant

  21. Got this implant as it was offered as free contraceptive after my second child, it has been two years of un predictable bleeding sometimes up to 4weeks non stop, weight gain, server depression, anxiety, excessive hair growth, and lack of energy / motivation. Everyone is different an so out bodies do what they can just decided to listen to mine and will be seeing doctor tomorrow to arrange having it out!

  22. I’ve had the rod for 2 1/2 years. I never notified before but slowly realising all my mood swings, depression anxiety weight gain low energy has started since the insertion day 1. Had lost 10kgs before I got the rod and now have gained 20kgs. Irregular periods (including twice a month) does not bother me as much as the emotional side effects. Definantly have been considering getting it out just don’t know what to use instead though no point having the rod if it’s going to ruin my relationship

  23. I have had the jadelle for nearly 2 years and during this time I did not have my period. Until 2 months ago I have been getting my period every second week!!! If someone touches my upper arm (where the rods are inserted) I feel like fainting! Do not get this it is really bad! Atm Im waiting to get it removed

  24. I have had the Jadelle rods for 2 years and have booked to have them removed, I have suffered depression, anxiety attacks, gained 10 kgs, had extremely tender breasts and random pain in my adomen and also suffered headaches which i have never had previously, I am constantly fatigued and hungry (almost how I felt when pregnant). One of my rods is also poking out of my arm and is pushing hard against the skin. I have had every type of contaceptive IUD, Pill, the jab etc and my personal opinion is I do not recommend the Jadelle at all.

  25. Had my 2 years now no probs ..but recently having numbness tingling on my arm painful as well everyone nite js not sure if this is from the rods..going in to see gp today ..

  26. Just had my jadelle taken out after almost two years. Few months of them trying to persuade me to keep it in I just couldn’t have it anymore. Wish I knew about the chemical abortion before hand, I think I would have changed my mind! But besides all the side affects as stated by many of the women above which I have also suffered, I think the worst side affect that I inherited from the jadelle was the psoriasis. The skin problem quickly arose soon after having it implanted and slowly spread through my body. It caused embarrassment & depression within myself. After trying a few medications I booked in to have it removed, the family planning doctor talked me out of it saying there’s no way this skin disorder is linked to the jadelle. Prescribed me some medication to try, few months later nothings changed. So I finally get another appointment & am adamant to have it taken out this time. I feel like anything you put into your body is foreign anyway and will definitely have some sort of affect on it. So its been nearly a week since having it removed and my body’s already balancing itself back out & I’m pretty certain this psoriasis will in time too. I did ask around and found another lady who had the same problem with the jadelle & psoriasis which went away within a year of having her rod removed. Definitely think it needs to provide more information to those who are looking at getting it put in.

  27. Hi i had my jadelle inserted 3 years ago n for one year I didn’t get my periods n i enjoyed it…. but soon after that i have been having my periods for 2 to 3 weeks non stop with a one week break n the heavy bleeding continues. I got no issues with my weight as u will hardly notice that i have a kid already. Am 25yrs old n am only 50kgs, my rods still in place but the problem is for the past two months i haven’t seen my periods, i feel sickly,…. I just feel pregnant n this scares the hell out of me. Am afraid getting the test…. I just hope am not pregnant

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