The proliferation of birth control methods in the last several decades has given women greater flexibility to find contraceptives that suit their preferences and reproductive choices. Unfortunately, not all of those are as safe or reliable as initially thought.
The Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) is one of these. The Mirena is a piece of plastic that is inserted into the uterus to put a “lock” on contraception. It prevents the sperm from reaching the uterus and fertilizing the egg, but it includes hormones as well, so it provides both a physical and hormonal block to pregnancy.
Mirena IUDs came on the market around 2001 and are now among the most common of these devices in the United States. Typically, a Mirena IUD is implanted for five years or until a woman decides she wants to have a baby.
Despite the purported benefits of the Mirena IUD, users have filed between 70,000-80,000 complaints with the FDA about the dangerous side effects associated with the device. Although there hasn’t been a product recall, the user reports are concerning.
What Are the Side Effects of the Mirena IUD?
Bayer Pharmaceutical, the primary manufacturer of Mirena IUDs, warns about certain side effects, such as pain and bleeding after implant.
Other common side effects include missed menstrual periods, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other serious complications. Any time you insert metal or plastic into a body, there are risks of perforation and migration as well.
However, the most alarming side effects are ones that the manufacturer has not advertised.
The two that have raised particular concern are pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) and idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Both of these conditions can cause catastrophic effects such as neurological disorders, vision problems, seizures, strokes, and urological issues.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri is a “false tumor” caused by pressure around the brain. The most common symptoms include vision loss, brief periods of blindness, ringing in the ears with the beating of the heart, and a headache behind the eyes.
Although no birth control is risk-free, reports of these severe side effects have been found to be more frequently associated with the Mirena IUD.
Increasingly, it appears that Bayer did not sufficiently warn consumers about these potential side effects. Had women known the full spectrum of risks associated with the Mirena device, they may have chosen a different contraceptive.
When Do Symptoms Associated With the Mirena IUD Appear?
Side effects from the Mirena IUD may appear at any time. The device is typically implanted for five years, so some women have noticed headaches and vision problems within the first year while complications for others may be more delayed.
It’s worth noting that many women report a decrease in symptoms once the Mirena IUD is removed. This is significant because if symptoms abate once the foreign device is no longer implanted, there is a strong argument that it was the cause of the problems.
Oftentimes when a device comes under scrutiny in this way, the doctors, companies, and attorneys involved in the case will want to determine whether the symptoms could have been caused by an underlying condition.
However, pseudotumor cerebri and idiopathic intracranial hypertension are fairly uncommon in otherwise healthy people, and research continues to show a correlation between Mirena IUDs and the development of these conditions.
Do You Have a Mirena IUD Lawsuit?
Many Mirena IUD lawsuits have been filed all over the country. As is typical with these types of mass tort cases, a multi-district litigation (MDL) has been formed and most individual claims have been consolidated in the Southern District of New York.
This litigation was in the written discovery phase for most of 2018 with plaintiff depositions likely to begin in 2019.
We anticipate that the first Mirena MDL trials will begin in late 2019, but there is a possibility they may not commence until 2020.
How to Take Action Now
- If you used the Mirena IUD and experienced side effects from it, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to give you a formal diagnosis for conditions such as PTC and idiopathic intracranial hypertension and will help determine whether there was a link to the hormones in the Mirena IUD.
- In some cases, they may send you to a specialist who believes the hormones in the IUD caused the condition. If you receive a diagnosis from either doctor, contact a lawyer with experience handling medical device cases.
- Most importantly, keep all documentation related to when you began using the Mirena IUD, when you developed complications or adverse reactions, and any formal diagnoses.
Hiring a Mirena IUD Lawyer
An experienced legal team will be able to evaluate your circumstances and determine whether you have a Mirena IUD Lawsuit.
Van Wey Law offers free consultations on potential Mirena IUD cases so don’t hesitate to call us and discuss the issues you’ve experienced.