This past spring, the vaginal contraceptive ring NuvaRing followed in the footsteps of Yaz, Depo-Provera and Ortho Evra to become the next big thing in birth control lawsuits. Less than six months later, NuvaRing is losing the spotlight to the popular intrauterine device (IUD) Mirena.
At least 16 lawsuits were filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey by women suffering from perforation and similar Mirena injuries. The alleged Mirena injuries listed in the complaint are different than the side effects of NuvaRing or Yaz. The side effects of Mirena surrounding the litigation involve spontaneous migration of the IUD.
Mirena is a small T-shaped plastic device that measures 32 mm by 32 mm. A reservoir containing synthetic hormone levonorgestrel (LNG) surrounds the vertical stem of the device. The LNG is released at a rate of 20 micrograms per day and declines to a rate of 14 micrograms after 5 years, which is still within the range of clinical effectiveness. The LNG is released directly into the uterus. Most of the hormone stays inside the uterus. Only a small amount gets absorbed into the rest of the body.
Attached to a loop at the end of the device is a monofilament brown polyethylene removal thread. The thread allows physicians and patients to check and make sure the IUD is still in place. This thread also allows easy removal of the IUD.
Mirena was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 for contraceptive use. It was later approved for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in 2009. Mirena was permitted to remain in the body for up to five years.