Most Women Keep IUD Birth Control Long-Term: Study

New research suggests that most women who use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control, such as ParaGard, Mirena and Implanon, tend to stick with the contraceptive long-term.  

According to a study published in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on November 6, more than 90% of women who have an IUD implanted for birth control keep the device for at least six months, suggesting that IUDs should be more widely used to prevent pregnancy.

IUDs, which are sometimes referred to as an IUS, or intra-uterine system, are long-acting contraceptives that are inserted into the uterus to disrupt the egg and sperm system, and prevent pregnancy over a period of several years.

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Following a review of data from a cohort study involving 9,256 women using contraception, known as the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, researchers identified 6,167 women who were using IUDs and determined that 93% were still using their IUDs after six months. While the percentages were very close, the IUD with the highest rate of discontinuation was the ParaGard, with 8% of users dropping it after less than six months. Next was Mirena with 7.3%, and Implanon had the lowest discontinuation rate with 6.9%.

The most common reason women gave for discontinuing IUD use was irregular or frequent bleeding.

Researchers concluded that IUDs should be considered a “first-line” contraceptive, but doctors nationwide have been hesitant to heavily promote IUDs to their patients.

In March 2012, a report published in the same medical journal found that many doctors fear the side effects of the Mirena and other IUDs. That study found that 30% of family doctors, nurses and other care personnel thought IUDs were unsafe for women who had not yet had a child, or they were uncertain about the safety of the devices.

Mirena IUD Complications

This latest study comes amid mounting concerns over complications from Mirena birth control, which can surface months or even years after the IUD is implanted.

A growing number of women throughout the United States are now pursuing a Mirena IUD lawsuit against Bayer Healthcare, alleging that the manufacturer has failed to adequately warn about the risk that the plastic IUD may puncture the uterus and migrate to other areas of the body.

Plaintiffs claim that they suffered severe and painful injuries from the IUD that surfaced long after it was implanted, often resulting in the need for surgery to remove the Mirena IUD from their body.

Bayer has attempted to defend the lawsuits by arguing that information about the risk of perforation is provided with the product. However, plaintiffs maintain that the Mirena warnings are inadequate, arguing that the current language suggests that the risk of perforation only exists at the time the device is implanted. Many women report that the Mirena IUD moved spontaneously years after it was put in place, and that inadequate information was provided about the risk of these problems.

There are currently more than 200 complaints filed throughout the federal court system, where the Mirena litigation has been centralized as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

As more women contact Mirena injury lawyers over the coming months and years, the total number of lawsuits is expected to continue to rise, with some estimates suggesting that thousands of cases will ultimately be filed.

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