Bayer’s increasingly maligned Mirena IUD has been linked to a wide swath of side effects, but now it is being linked to more serious brain injuries.
An increasing number of women have filed lawsuits alleging the defective intrauterine device is causing them to develop serious neurological disorders. Women implanted with the Mirena IUD have developed idiopathic intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri. Both are neurological conditions caused by the hormone Mirena releases, levonorgestrel, which, while acting as a form of birth control, also increase the levels of cerebrospinal fluid. The terrifying result is then increased pressure on the brain that often mimics the presence of a tumor.
Intracranial hypertension (IH) is the general term for the neurological disorder in which cerebrospinal fluid pressure within the skull is too high. While cerebrospinal fluid is extremely important, as it protects and cushions the brain in the skull, too much of it can cause health problems. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) means there was a spontaneous spike in fluid pressure in the skull, often without any warning. IIH is also known as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), which is a neurological condition that occurs when internal pressure on the skull and eyes increases for no obvious reason.
Typically an increase in pressure on the brain occurs when fluid inside the skull exceeds the skull’s capacity. The most common cause of elevated spinal and brain fluid levels is a tumor. It is for this reason that those with IIH or PTC often suffer symptoms similar to a brain tumor, including severe headaches, ringing or whooshing sound in the ears (tinnitus), nausea, blurred vision, blindness, double vision, tunnel vision, light flashes, and pain in the neck or shoulders. The symptoms related to vision are caused by the swelling of the optic disc (also known as papilledema) due to increased fluid pressure. If not treated immediately, these symptoms can last for years, worsen over time, and even cause permanent damages. Patients suffering from IIH or PTC undergo a spinal tap, CT scan, and an MRI to rule out tumors and diagnose the condition.
Who is at Risk?
Women of all ages are at risk for PTC, but the presence of the progestin levonorgestrel – the synthetic birth control hormone used in Mirena – may increase those risks. While the FDA has not issued a Mirena-specific warning, it has warned about the increased risks of IIH or PTC in other products using levonorgestrel. Those products contain warnings on the increased risks of PTC or IIH, but Mirena’s warning labels do not.
Prior to these recent lawsuits, thousands of Mirena lawsuits have focused on side effects such as pelvic pain, internal scarring, excessive bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, or pelvic inflammatory disease caused by the Mirena device migrating within the uterus and perforating tissue or organs.
Women suffering from Mirena-caused IIH or PTC petitioned to have the cases centrally heard in a separate MDL (multi-district litigation) in federal court. The request was denied, but this simply means that women looking to pursue a Mirena brain injury lawsuit may do so through the standard lawsuit process.
Our Lawyers Can Help
Our dangerous device attorneys can help if you or someone you care about was harmed by a Mirena IUD. Lawsuits have been filed against the device makers by both patients and their families seeking compensation for injuries caused by the dangerous device. You may be entitled to a settlement.
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