The Mirena IUD has been linked to many severe side effects, including spontaneous uterine perforation and intracranial hypertension, a brain injury that can cause headaches and blindness. Other side effects that could be life-threatening or require emergency surgery. Bayer is now facing Mirena lawsuits from thousands of women.
Mirena is a type of implantable contraceptive device (IUD) that is used by more than 2 million women in the United States, and more than 15 million women worldwide. It was approved by the U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, and it is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Mirena is a T-shaped piece of plastic that slowly releases levonorgestrel, a type of synthetic hormone found in many birth control pills. The hormone makes many changes to a woman’s uterus and cervix, which reduces the chances that sperm will enter the uterus and fertilize an egg. It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy for five years.
Mirena Side Effects
- Perforation of the uterus, intestines, or cervix
- Intestinal obstruction
- Migration into uterus (or outside uterus, if the uterus is perforated)
- Scarring, which could cause infertility
- Ectopic pregnancy, which may be life-threatening, cause miscarriage, or premature birth
- Embedment or erosion into the uterus
- Inflammation of the uterus, abdominal cavity
- Emergency surgery to remove Mirena
Mirena Uterus Perforation
One of the most severe complications is uterus perforation. This injury can occur suddenly during insertion of the Mirena. It can also occur gradually, if the Mirena erodes into the uterus over time. Bayer estimates that uterus perforation occurs during 1 in 1,000-10,000 insertions. It is a rare side effect, but the long-term complications are very serious.
If the uterus is perforated, Mirena can migrate outside the uterus. It may puncture the intestines and cause life-threatening sepsis or infection. If the threads are not accessible, a woman may require emergency surgery to remove Mirena. It may also fail to protect against pregnancy — unfortunately, pregnancy with a perforated uterus has a high risk of miscarriage.
Mirena and Intracranial Hypertension
Bayer is facing a growing number of lawsuits from women who developed rare but serious brain injuries after using Mirena. These women cite decades of evidence linking levonorgestrel, the hormone in Mirena, with the following side effects:
These conditions elevate levels of cerebrospinal fluid, which puts pressure on the brain. The most common symptom is a headache that worsens. Over time, it can also damage the optic nerve and cause vision problems, double-vision, papilledema, and blindness.