Side Effects of Mirena
Though it is still one of the most-popular birth control devices around, the Mirena IUD can cause serious side effects. This device consists of an implant placed in the uterus that releases a constant stream of levonorgestrel, a steroid hormone that provides long-term birth control. The hormone works by thinning the uterine wall, eliminating the chances of an egg implant and making it more difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg. The implant can provide several years of birth control before it needs to be removed, which is the primary reason for its popularity. However, researchers have discovered an alarming rate of severe complications associated with the device.
What Are Some of the Worst Mirena side Effects?
While the device can cause a number of complications due to altering hormone levels, the most-dangerous complications occur when the implant migrates. Bayer, the device’s manufacturer, has claimed that device migration is rare, but a study published by the UCLA Medical Center disputed this claim. According to the study, device migration is a “frequently encountered complication.”
When migrating, the implant may punch through the uterus or bladder and settle somewhere in the pelvis or abdominal cavity. If the device migrates, it immediately becomes a medical emergency and usually subjects the woman to intense pain. If it contacts blood vessels, internal bleeding may occur. If it pushes up against other organs, it may result in severe organ damage. If the device migrates, it may also cause an infection. In some cases, women have been rendered incapable of having children due to uterus damage. The Food and Drug Administration is also aware of the fatal complications due to implant migration.
Upon suspecting implant migration, doctors will need to remove the device through surgery, exposing the victim to additional risks and forcing expensive medical treatment.
Other common complications include ectopic pregnancy, another medical emergency that can result in infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and device expulsion.
Are there concerns with how Bayer has marketed the implant?
Pharmaceutical companies often use misleading language to exaggerate the effectiveness of a product or downplay its risks. In lawsuits filed against Bayer, the company has been accused of making false claims about the device. In fact, the FDA sent a letter to Bayer in 2009 demanding the company cease producing certain marketing materials. In the letter, the FDA accused Bayer of making false claims about the implant’s ability to improve sexual satisfaction. The FDA also chastised Bayer for withholding information regarding contraindications associated with the implant.
In addition to claims against the company’s misleading marketing materials, many lawsuits also assert negligence on the part of Bayer. These suits claim that the company did not properly test Mirena IUD for possible side effects and did not alert healthcare providers once the implant’s risks became apparent.