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A product liability lawsuit filed by an Alabama woman indicates that she suffered numerous vision problems and other injuries from a Mirena IUD, which was implanted to provide long-term birth control, but caused a dangerous buildup of fluid in her skill, resulting in two lumbar punctures and other treatment.
Shavonte Johnson filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 23, alleging that Bayer Healthcare sold an unreasonably dangerous product, without providing adequate warnings for women or the medical community..
Johnson, 25, was implanted with the Mirena IUD in December 2014. However, in August 2016 she sought medical treatment for severe headaches and vision problems, which included seeing “floaters” in her vision, and suffering from blurry vision and blind spots.
She was diagnosed with a pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) injury, involves a buildup of fluid pressure in the brain, which can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve and other health problems.
To treat the condition, Johnson’s doctors prescribed her Diamox and Topamax, and she has had to undergo two lumbar punctures to relieve the brain fluid 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.
The lawsuit indicates that Bayer has long known that levonorgestrel, the progestin coating the Mirena IUD, was linked to a risk of PTC, but failed to provide adequate warnings about the importance that women monitor for signs or symptoms of the injury.
“Mirena’s label does not sufficiently warn about non-stroke neurological conditions such as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH),” Johnson’s lawsuit states. “Mirena’s label makes no mention of PTC/IIH, despite a known link between levonorgestrel and PTC/IIH.”
Johnson’s claim joins a growing number of Mirena lawsuits filed in courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that women could have avoided serious and permanent injuries if Bayer had adequately warned them or the medical community about the risks of Mirena PTC and IIH.
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.