Side Effects and Risks of Mirena

An intrauterine device (IUD) seems like the perfect solution for the busy woman who doesn’t have time or inclination to take an oral contraception everyday. Mirena is a t-shaped IUD placed within the uterus by a healthcare provider to prevent pregnancy for up to five years, according to the manufacturer Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. Mirena consists of two arms a stem, a reservoir for levonorgestrel hormone, and thin threads for monthly self-checks. But how does Mirena work and what are the associated risks?

The Mirena IUD releases small amounts of a hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus. Mirena works by inhibiting sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg, thinning the uterine lining, and thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Mirena is also reversible meaning it can be removed if women want to try to get pregnant right away.

There are a number of side effects and risks associated with Mirena including ovarian cysts, irregular bleeding and spotting, pelvic inflammatory disease, and more. Many women have cited issues with Mirena, filing lawsuits against Bayer. The most common complaints are device migration, ectopic pregnancy, uterine perforation, and pelvic inflammatory disease. With device migration and uterine perforation, surgery is typically needed not only to remove the device but also to repair damage done to the organs. Ectopic pregnancies, while rare, have very serious health consequences for both the mother and child.

Is the convenience of not taking a pill everyday worth the potential risks? In my personal opinion, no it is not. Although IUDs are very effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, the risks of device migration and uterine perforation among other dangerous side effects far outweigh the benefits of convenience. Women have a number of other options when it comes to birth control, including shots, the pill, and patches to name a few.

According to LawyersandSettlements.com, the most common complaint in the lawsuits involves uterine perforation and device migration; however, pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) have been cited as two side effects that have to do with a dangerous buildup of fluid around the brain, causing blurred vision among other issues.

In one case, a woman from New Jersey, Brittany Collins, filed a lawsuit against Bayer for PTC. After receiving the Mirena IUD in 2011, Collins shortly began to experience a number of side effects, including “severe headaches, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, and pain in her neck and shoulders.” Collins was then diagnosed with PTC almost three years later, which means the plaintiff has had three lumbar punctures to relieve the buildup of pressure on her brain and optic nerve.

Plaintiffs argue that Bayer engaged in deceptive marketing by concealing information and backing a defective product without warning consumers of the potentially dangerous side effects. According to Spiros Law, P.C., the law firm has included Mirena as part of a mass tort lawsuit against Bayer.