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An Arkansas woman indicates that she was hospitalized due to a dangerous build up of fluid pressure on her brain, known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), alleging in a lawsuit that Bayer failed to warn that the condition may be caused by side effects of the Mirena IUD birth control implant.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 17, Stephanie Treat indicates that the drug makers failed to provide consumers and the medical community with sufficient information about the risk of skull fluid build up from Mirena IUDs, which may cause severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, blind spots and other complications.
Treat indicates that a Mirena IUD was implanted in October 2014, which is sold by Bayer as a long-term form a birth control, providing protection against pregnancy for up to five years. However, after the IUD was placed in her body, Treat began experiencing frequent and severe symptoms, which resulted in hospitalization between May 9 and May 22, 2016, when she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), which is also often referred to as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC).
The condition involves elevated levels of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, which typically produces headaches, visual disturbances and other problems. While the fluid pressure may be resolved, the PTC/IIH may result in permanent vision problems if damage is suffered by the optic nerve.
“Patients with PTC or IIH typically develop symptoms of severe migraines or migraine-like headaches with blurred vision, diplopia (double vision), temporary blindness, blind spots, or other visual deficiencies,” Treat’s lawsuit notes. “Visual problems and symptoms are a result of increased pressure on the optic nerve. Patients with PTC or IIH often develop papilledema, or optic disc swelling due to increased intracranial pressure.”
Prompt treatment for this fluid pressure on the brain is critical to avoiding long-term damage to the optic nerve, which can result in permanent vision loss and even blindness.
Treat’s claim joins a growing number of Mirena lawsuits filed in courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that women may have avoided serious injuries if adequate information had been provided that symptoms like papilledema, headaches, vision problems and other complications associated with the fluid pressure may be the result of the birth control implant.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in lawsuits file by women throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established coordinated pretrial proceedings in April 2017, centralizing all cases involving pseudotumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension complications from Mirena IUDs before one judge in the Southern District of New York.
There are currently more than 200 complaints pending before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Englemayer as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. However, as Mirena injury lawyers continue to review and file claims for women nationwide, it is expected that the size and scope of the litigation will continue to grow over the coming weeks and months.