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IUD Birth Control Device Use Skyrocketing: CDC Report

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The use of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as the Mirena, Paragard and Implanon, have increased by a factor of five over the past decade. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a data brief this month, which highlights the increased use of birth control devices that act for long periods of time, like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal hormonal implants.

The report indicates the growth appears to be driven by the use of long-acting IUDs, such as Mirena and ParaGard, which are small, flexible, T-shaped devices implanted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to five years.

In 1988, LARCs were used by just 1.4% of women. However, the CDC reports that by 2011-2013, the number had increased to 7.2%.

“IUDs have accounted for the largest proportion of LARC usage since 2002,” the CDC report indicates. “Comparing 2006-2010 with 2011-2013, IUD use increased 83% (from 3.5% to 6.4%), while implant use tripled (from 0.3% to 0.8%).”

CDC researchers found that the growth was driven by the devices’ ability to prevent unwanted pregnancy in comparison to other methods of birth control, outperforming both the birth control pill and the transdermal patch. The study found that women tend to opt for LARCs when they are informed that they are an option.

A study published earlier this month in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that IUDs and implants appeared to prevent pregnancy for a year beyond their usual recommended use.

Mirena IUD Migration Concerns

The findings come amid continuing concerns about the potential risk of complications with Mirena birth control, which have been linked to reports of sudden migration long after the device is implanted in the uterus, where the IUD may perforate the uterus, cause infections and leave women unprotected against pregnancy.

Bayer currently faces thousands of Mirena IUD lawsuits filed in courts throughout the U.S., which allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risk of the birth control implant spontaneously puncturing the uterus and moving out of position long after it was implanted.

Since 2000, more than 70,000 adverse events have been filed with the FDA involving Mirena IUD problems, including at least 5,000 cases involving women who indicated that Mirena moved out of place since 2008, and 1,322 reports where the Mirena IUD punctured the uterus.

In the federal court system, the Mirena cases are centralized as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in the Southern District of New York to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

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