Often we hear about birth control risks such as irregular periods, increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure, but fluid in the brain is not one of them. Unfortunately, some Mirena users have reported developing a condition called pseudotumor cerebri.
What is Mirena?
Mirena contraceptive is a plastic T-shaped device, manufactured by Bayer, that is inserted into the uterus as a form of birth control. More than 2 million women in the United States have had the Mirena device implanted in them. Mirena has been used by 15 million women worldwide. The IUD device prevents pregnancy by releasing a hormone called levonorgestrel. Mirena has been shown to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and can remain effective for up to five years, making it the birth control of choice for many women. Mirena is also helpful for women who have heavy menstrual periods because levonorgestrel can lighten/eliminate periods in some cases. Marketing materials and instructions for the Mirena IUD state that the device can remain safely in place and prevent pregnancy for up to five years from the date of IUD implantation. After five years, it is recommended that the Mirena IUD be removed and replaced.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Also called idiopathic intracranial hypertension, pseudotumor cerebri causes a pressure increase inside the skull. Sometimes the pressure can be reduced by taking medication, but surgery is often required. This condition mimics a brain tumor but is actually a form of hypertension that causes fluid buildup in the brain. No tumor is present, but the pressure can cause serious side effects, such as the following:
· Flashes of light
· Neck, back or shoulder pain
· Ringing in the ears
· Memory loss
· Vision loss
Bayer, the maker of Mirena, is now facing lawsuits based on its failure to disclose the risk of developing pseudotumor cerebri. It is believed that Bayer knew about the risk for more than 20 years, but failed to place a warning on it on its label. In 1995, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study linking levonorgestrel, the main ingredient in Mirena, to pseudotumor cerebri. Bayer also conducted its own clinical trial, in which nearly 8% of women developed headaches after using Mirena. Mirena labeling still does not warn of the pseudotumor cerebri risk.
Free Consultation Available
If you or a loved one developed a pseudotumor cerebri while using Mirena, contact one of the birth control side effect lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP. Our team of attorneys has successfully pursued many birth control side effect claims on behalf of hundreds of women throughout North America. Call now for a free and confidential case evaluation. 1-800-718-4658.