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Bayer faces at least two new lawsuits over its Mirena IUD (intra-uterine device), which were filed by women who indicate that the implanted birth control devices migrated within their bodies and had to be removed.
The complaints were both filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Morris County, according to a press release issued by the women’s lawyers.
One claim was filed late last month, by a woman from Oklahoma, and the second was filed in April, by a woman from Ohio. In both cases, the lawsuits allege that the Mirena IUD detached from it’s location in the uterus and was moving through the women’s bodies, causing internal injury.
Mirena IUD is a long-lasting, but reversible, birth control device that is placed into the uterus to prevent pregnancy by disrupting the egg and sperm. The device also releases levonorgestrel, which is a progestin designed to help keep the woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs.
Introduced by Bayer in 2000, use of Mirena birth control has grown in recent years, amid heavy promotion of the device as a hassle-free form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy for five years or longer. However, a number of users have experienced severe problems with Mirena, including perforation or puncturing of the uterus, or migration of the device to other parts of the body if a perforation is not detected. This may result in intestinal perforations, obstructions, absecesses, adhesions as well as a risk of infection.
According to allegations raised in both of the recently filed Mirena lawsuits, the plaintiffs had to have hysterectomies because of the migration, which results in permanent infertility.
A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 30% of all doctors surveyed thought IUDs were unsafe for women who had not yet had a child or they were uncertain whether they were safe. The fears have led to 60% deciding to only provide them occasionally, and usually that was only when their patient expressed a preference for the devices.
Despite the reported complications with Mirena IUD, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other groups have maintained that IUDs are highly effective as sterilization that is reversible. CDC researchers indicate that they are safe for women and reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
When IUDs were first introduced to the market, they carried a warning that they were contraindicated for women who had never had children due to fears of pelvic infection. Those concerns have been disproven by later studies, according to the researchers.
The latest lawsuits seek compensatory damages from Bayer, the manufacturer, for pain and suffering, severe and permanent physical injuries, medical expenses and lost wages .