Mirena IUDs linked to risk of dangerous side effects and pregnancy complications

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by Jim Orr

Mirena is a type of hormonal intrauterine device, or IUD, that can be used for up to five years in order to prevent pregnancy. Until recently, Mirena was the only hormonal IUD approved for sale in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA recently approved a second hormonal IUD, known as Skyla.

Like Skyla, Mirena uses a synthetic version of the hormone progestin known as levonorgestrel in order to prevent pregnancy. When a woman elects to use the Mirena IUD for birth control, the device is placed inside the uterus by a physician. The hormones released by Mirena help to thicken the cervical mucus at the lower end of the uterus in order to prevent sperm from reaching the egg or fertilizing it.

Since it was approved by the FDA in 2000, Mirena has become a popular option for women who plan on using contraceptives for a longer duration, especially among women who have already had a child. But while Obamacare and other state and local health programs have made Mirena affordable for students and other women of low income, many women do not consider the health costs they may incur should they develop side effects from Mirena that require surgical repair.

In some cases, the Mirena IUD can migrate from inside the uterus into other areas of the body. This can increase a woman’s risk of perforation of nearby organs or blood vessels, and may require expensive surgery in order to remove the IUD from the body.

Even if Mirena does not migrate to other areas of the body, in some cases the device can cause uterine perforations. Damage to the uterus caused by Mirena may require a woman to undergo hysterectomy surgery in order to have the uterus removed. Some women who have experienced side effects of Mirena may not be able to have children because of the injuries caused by the IUD.

Women who become pregnant while using Mirena may also experience pregnancy complications that may put their baby’s life at risk. According to the FDA, about 50% of women who become pregnant while using Mirena experience ectopic pregnancies in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus, which can put the mother’s life in danger. Mirena users may also be at risk of suffering a miscarriage if they become pregnant while using the IUD.

Women who have experienced complications from Mirena—including injuries to their own bodies, complications during a pregnancy, or complications requiring surgery—have filed lawsuits against Bayer, the company that makes the device. According to these Mirena lawsuits, Bayer deliberately misled women about the safety of Mirena and downplayed the risk of side effects they may experience when using the birth control device.

In October 2009, the FDA sent a warning letter to Bayer about a marketing campaign for Mirena that was orchestrated by the company. According to the FDA Mirena warning letter, Bayer paid health professionals to give presentations to groups of women which claimed that using Mirena could help improve the quality of their love lives and help them “look and feel great.” The FDA letter said that not only were these claims unsupported by medical evidence, they downplayed the risk of serious complications that a woman could experience while using Mirena and omitted information about a number of side effects of the IUD, including infections.

As the FDA warning letter demonstrates, complications from Mirena are not a rare event. According to the agency, about 10% of women who use Mirena experience complications from the IUD. Since Mirena was approved by the FDA, the agency has received more than 45,000 reports of side effects suffered by women using Mirena. Because this number only represents cases that were reported to the FDA, this could be just a fraction of the total number of women who have experienced serious injuries or other complications from a Mirena IUD.

If you or a loved one have used a Mirena IUD and suffered a perforation of the uterus, pregnancy complications, or other side effects, you may qualify to file a lawsuit against the device’s manufacturer and seek compensation for your injuries. To learn more about filing a Mirena lawsuit and to find out if you qualify, contact the lawyer at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page, and one of our representatives will be in touch with you as soon as possible to learn more about your case.