Alternative forms of birth control have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the intrauterine device, or IUD, has particularly seen an upswing in popularity. Bayer’s Mirena IUD, which first received FDA approval for use in 2000, has been at the forefront of the modern IUD revival. However, there have been an increasing number of reports and many lawsuits filed over possible risks of Mirena, so it’s important to know the facts about this potentially dangerous product, especially if you are at risk or already have been injured by this drug.
How Mirena Is Used
All IUDs are devices intended to be inserted into the uterus to provide birth control. In this respect, Mirena is no different from other IUDs. The procedure for Mirena insertion may involve a little bit of discomfort (which should pass relatively quickly, according to the manufacturer) and generally follows these steps:
- An antiseptic is used to clean the vaginal and cervical areas
- A sterilized insertion device is guided into the vagina and through the cervical os, a small opening in the cervix that leads to the uterus
- The physician confirms proper placement of the IUD, then removes the insertion device
- The locator strings are checked for positioning, and trimmed to length
Classically, IUDs have been made of a metal, such as copper, which is believed to change the uterine environment chemically to prevent contraception. This is where Mirena differs from traditional IUD devices: Mirena contains no metal at all. It is made of a soft and flexible plastic material. It’s shaped like an upper-case letter “T”, with two placement strings connected to the bottom. A silicone reservoir is wrapped around the vertical part of the “T” and contains a progestin birth control medication called levonorgestrel.
What Is Levonorgestrel?
Levonorgestrel is a common hormonal medication found in Mirena IUD, Skyla IUD, certain brands of oral birth control pills, and the “morning after” emergency contraceptive pills. In Mirena, the levonorgestrel is contained in the plastic body of the device. Mirena slowly releases the hormone over the device lifespan, which the manufacturer says is about five years.
How Does Mirena Work?
It’s not fully understood how Mirena and levonorgestrel work to prevent conception, but the manufacturer believes that a combination of factors come into play, including:
- Increasing the thickness of cervical mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus
- Causing changes to the wall of the uterus
- Preventing sperm from surviving to fertilize an egg
Does Mirena Have Risks?
All medications have possible risks, and Mirena is no exception. There are the immediate risks of the insertion procedure, and several more risks to consider about the physical device and the levonorgestrel medication it contains. Some of the potential side effects and complications of Mirena may include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Embedding in the uterine wall
- Perforation of the uterus and other organs or tissues, during or after insertion
- Migration into other locations in the body
- Spontaneous expulsion of the IUD
- Ovarian cysts
- Pseudotumor cerebri
While all of these risks are dangerous and pose real risks to the health of women, one of the most worrisome complications to emerge recently is pseudotumor cerebri.
What Is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
PTC, also called idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), is a frightening condition that can result in permanent blindness if left untreated. This condition happens when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up inside the skull and puts pressure on the brain, causing symptoms that mimic an expanding brain tumor. How Mirena causes PTC is unknown, but multiple sources have begun linking PTC and Mirena, including a 2015 study that found “a higher than expected number of reports of ICH” (intracranial hypertension) in the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting (FAERS) database.
Have You Been Hurt by Mirena?
If you’ve suffered as a result of Mirena, you’re not alone. Thousands of women across the nation have begun filing lawsuits against the manufacturer, Bayer, for medical bills associated with their Mirena IUDs.
Wayne Wright has years of experience protecting consumer rights by battling these big drug companies that are putting out dangerous products that hurt consumers. To talk about your case with an attorney who will stand up in court for your right to seek compensation against companies that sell dangerous drugs, call us for a free case evaluation at 800-237-3334. We have offices conveniently located in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, and El Paso. Get the legal help that you need today.