New IUD Skyla goes on sale in the U.S.

by Heygood Orr and Pearson

Skyla—as the first new intrauterine device to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 12 years—has gone on sale in the U.S. Skyla uses a synthetic version of the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy and can be left in place for up to three years after it is inserted by a doctor.

The release of Skyla comes at a time when IUDs are becoming an increasingly popular option for American women who use contraceptives. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, a health organization in New York, 7.7% of women in 2009 were using long-acting reversible contraceptive methods such as an IUD, up from just 2.0% in 2002.

Skyla is manufactured by Bayer AG, which also manufactures one of the other two IUDs available in the U.S., Mirena. Health organizations in the U.S. and Canada have warned about the increased health risks posed by the use of the Mirena IUD, including infection, uterine perforation, adhesions, migration of the IUD, pelvic inflammatory disease, and complications during pregnancy.

Widespread reports about the side effects of Mirena have prompted numerous women who suffered injuries caused by the IUD to file lawsuits against Bayer over their injuries. So far there have been no widespread reports of side effects with Skyla, although the device’s warning label does contain information about potential side effects that could be caused by the IUD.