A message from Dr. Unjali Malhotra, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer, and Cindy Preston, Director of Pharmacy, FNHA Health Benefits Department
For any family planning decisions, you have choices. You can speak to a healthcare provider about medical risks and options, to your partner about what you feel is right for your family, or to your aunties and mom about their experiences and how best to choose. Please know that you have a say in your decision.
There are a lot of options for birth control. Plan W already covers most forms of contraception: birth control pills, the vaginal ring, the patch, the Depoprovera (Depo) injection, IUDs – and soon, Nexplanon, which was approved in Canada in 2020.
Nexplanon is a small (4 mm x 2 mm), flexible rod that is inserted under the skin of the inner arm by a healthcare provider, who will first “freeze" the area to prevent pain. It provides birth control for three years by continuously releasing the hormone progesterone into the bloodstream.
Nexplanon's main benefit is its effectiveness; it has a .05 per cent failure rate. (To compare rates of other methods, see this chart.) Other benefits include no risk of forgetting pills, less frequent refills / repeat prescriptions, and fewer birth control visits to your healthcare provider. (But please remember that you still need routine care and Pap screening!)
Nexplanon is fully reversible; it is your right to have it taken out at any time by your healthcare provider (insertion and removal must be done by a specially trained provider).
As with any form of contraception, Nexplanon may not be suitable for some women, and there may be side effects. All forms of birth control carry risks and benefits, whether medical, social or personal. You should find out from your healthcare provider if your choice of birth control is medically safe for you. You will also want a method that suits your life and that you can easily troubleshoot, use, or stop using as close to home as possible.
Above all, remember that it is your choice and that you have options when it comes to contraception: which one, how you take it, for how long, and when you remove it or stop it.
Plan W coverage:
Searchable Plan W formulary: https://pharmacareformularysearch.gov.bc.ca/faces/Search.xhtml
FNHA's Supplemental Formulary: https://www.fnha.ca/Documents/FNHA-Supplementary-Formulary-Through-Pacific-Blue-Cross-Fact-Sheet.pdf