Mirena Lawsuits Claim IUD Side Effects Triggered Pseudotumor Cerebri

As a growing number of lawsuits continue to be filed by women diagnosed with pseudotuor cerebri triggered by a Mirena IUD, a panel of federal judges has scheduled oral arguments for late next month, to decide whether to centralize all cases involving severe headaches, vision problems and other complications associated with the dangerous buildup of fluid pressure on the brain.

A motion was filed last month, seeking to centralize the Mirena lawsuits before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings, since they each raise similar allegations that the manufacturer of the birth control implant failed to provide adequate warnings about the potential side effects of the intrauterine device (IUD).

According to a hearing session order (PDF) issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, oral arguments on the motion to transfer more than 100 cases pending in various different federal district courts will be heard on March 30, in Phoenix, Arizona. However, additional cases continue to be filed by women nationwide.

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One of the latest was a complaint (PDF) filed by Katrina Everett-Carey in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, indicating that she has suffered blurred vision, intense headaches and other side effects of pseudotumor cerebri caused by a Mirena IUD implanted to provide long-term birth control.

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), which is also commonly referred to as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), is a dangerous medical emergency caused by a build up of fluid pressure in the skull. This can cause severe headaches, vision problems and result in permanent damage to the optic nerve, even after the fluid pressure has been relieved.

“It has been estimated that approximately 1-2 people per 100,000 in the United States have PTC or IIH, although reports suggest the prevalence of the disorder is increasing. In 1994, a study found that in females between the ages of 15 to 44, IIH occurred at a rate of approximately 3.3 per 100,000 per year,” the lawsuit filed by Everett-Carey notes. “Despite the rarity of PTC/IIH, women who use levonorgestrel-containing products, like the Mirena IUS, more commonly develop the disorder.”

As Mirena IUD injury lawyers continue to review and file cases for women diagnosed with PTC or IIH in the coming weeks and months, it is expected that more than 1,000 lawsuits will eventually be involved in the litigation.

In complex litigation, where a large number of plaintiffs allege similar injuries were caused by the same medication or medical device, it is common for coordinated pretrial proceedings to be established, known as an MDL or multidistrict litigation. The process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial ruling from different judges and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

A similar request to establish a Mirena PTC/IIH MDL was rejected by the U.S. JPML in August 2014, indicating that there were too few cases at that time to justify centralized proceedings. However, in this renewed request that will be considered next month, plaintiffs point to a sharp increase in the number of complaints filed in recent months.


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