DOH: Progestin subdermal implant doesn't induce abortion

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has clarified that the progestin subdermal implant (PSI), a new family planning method, does not induce abortion.

The DOH issued the clarification to correct "the misconception that it causes abortion among users," and cited Food and Drug Administration Advisory No. 2017-302 "that declared PSI as among the contraceptive products that are non-abortifacient."

 Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement that "like other contraceptives, the PSI has some temporary side effects like headache, acne or pimples, weight gain, and breast pain, minor bleeding, vaginal itching, and menstrual cramps."

Duque advised couples to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again to ensure the health of the mother and child. (READ: Filipinas buy, sell, rate abortions in online forum)

How it works: According to the World Health Organization, PSIs “consist of hormone-filled capsules or rods” inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.

The DOH said the implants consist of “single, matchstick-sized rods,” which contains the hormone progestin, commonly used in hormonal birth control. PSIs can provide protection for up to 3 years.

“Some of the PSI’s advantages include ease of use, can be removed anytime, and is highly effective,” Duque said.

First-time users of PSIs should leave the bandage on the wound for a day to avoid bruising. Users should also clean the wound daily and avoid getting it wet for 3 to 5 days.

Sexual activity should be avoided for a week and patients should consult a doctor if they observe any “unusual feeling” after the procedure.

A check-up 3 months after the implant is placed is advised as well as year visits afterwards.

Safe to use: The DOH reiterated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clarified the safety of PSIs through its resolution issued in November 2017.

The FDA’s resolution re-certified 51 contraceptives were non-abortifacient. The contraceptives were covered by the two-year-old temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) against the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.

The FDA resolution effectively lifted the TRO and prompted the DOH to fully implement the RH law. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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