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After developing a dangerous buildup of fluid pressure around her brain, a product liability lawsuit indicates that complications caused by a Mirena IUD left a Nevada woman with permanent vision problems, including blind spots and floaters caused by damage to her optic nerve.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Nicole Askin in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, indicating that Bayer Healthcare failed to warn women and the medical community about the risks associated with their popular birth control implant.
Askin first has a Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) implanted in April 2008, which is designed to provide protection against pregnancy for up to five years. Her doctors replaced the implant with a second Mirena IUD in 2013, indicating in the lawsuit that she relied on representations made by the manufacturer about the safety of the IUD.
As early as December 2008, Askin indicates that she began to experience severe headaches, floaters in her vision and blind spots, as well as sharp pain at the base of her skull, nausea and vomiting. However, she had no reason to suspect the symptoms were associated with the Mirena IUD, even after she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension in January 2009. The condition is also known as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), and involves a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull.
The lawsuit claims that Askin did not discovery that Mirena was causing the complications she was experiencing until March 2016, indicating that she has been left with permanent injury due to the fluid pressure on the optic nerve.
“[B]ecause Mirena’s label is devoid of any warnings of PTC or IIH, once a patient’s healthcare provider rules out transient cerebral ischemia or stroke as a cause of symptoms of migraine and/or asymmetrical visual loss, the healthcare provider will not typically know or advise a patient with PTC to remove Mirena, which causes or contributes to the development and/or progression of PTC/IIH,” the lawsuit states.
Askin’s claim joins a growing number of Mirena intracranial hypertension 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 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 complaints filed 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.