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An Arkansas woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that the risks associated with Mirena IUDs make the birth control implants unreasonably dangerous, indicating that it caused her and other women to develop a serious complication known as pseudotumor cerebri, where a dangerous build up of fluid pressure in the skull results in vision problems, headaches and other health issues.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Latoya Kendrix in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 26, claiming that Bayer Healthcare knew or should have known about the potential Mirena pseudotumor cerebri risk, yet failed to adequately warn women or the medical community.
Kendrix had a Mirena IUD implanted in April 2009, which was designed to provide long-term birth control through a levonorgestrel-releasing device placed into the uterus. However, in the Summer of 2013, she began to experience severe headaches, blurred vision, vision loss, ringing in the ears, nausea, dizziness, and neck, back and shoulder pains.
In July 2013, Kendrix was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), which she alleges was caused by side effects of levonorgestrel released by the Mirena IUD. The condition involves a build up of fluid in the brain, which can cause optic nerve damage and other injuries, and often can only be relieved through a lumbar puncture.
While Kendrix had the Mirena removed in April 2014, it is likely that the vision problems will be permanent, according to the lawsuit.
“There is currently no treatment to reverse permanent injury to the optic nerves caused by increased intracranial pressure,” the lawsuit notes. “Because of this, treatment of PTC or IIH is focused on halting visual loss that has already occurred.”
These pseudotumor cerebri risks, which are not mentioned on the Mirena label, make the birth control device unreasonably dangerous and defective, Kendrix’s lawsuit states.
The case joins a growing number of similar Mirena IUD lawsuits filed nationwide by women who suffered intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri. 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.