Birth Control Litigation

Mirena IUD and Cancer Risks

In 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Mirena IUD for use as a hormonal birth control method.1 The plastic T-shaped device, which contains the synthetic progesterone called levonorgestrel, is inserted in the womb/uterus. This long-term birth control method is the only hormonal IUD with FDA approval,2 but the long-term birth control device comes with clear benefits and startling side effects.

Complications associated with the Mirena IUD

Mirena, as a hormonal intrauterine device, used to be prescribed for more than preventing pregnancy. Some doctors even prescribed it for patients with excessive menstrual bleeding. In lieu of its benefits, the Mirena IUD is associated with certain complications. These Mirena IUD complications include:

  • Headache
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Pregnancy (with possible congenital anomalies)
  • Vaginitis/vaginal infection
  • IUD embedment or perforation through the uterine wall
  • Painful periods
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic pain

Cancer precautions and the Mirena IUD

Some of the IUD complications and side effects have symptoms similar to those of common cancers, such as ovarian cancer.3 The Mirena IUD has a number of complications, including some cancer precautions women must consider.

According to Mirena packaging, women who have had or are at risk for some cancers should not use the device.4 These cancers include:

  • Breast
  • Uterine
  • Cervical
  • Endometrial

The advice is that the device should not be used in hormone-sensitive cancer cases.

Mirena IUD product packaging has confirmed that some patients have reported breast cancer after using Mirena, but the makers claim that there is no way for them to reliably estimate the causal link between the Mirena IUD and cancer. No studies have shown a link between getting cancer and using the Mirena IUD;5 however, a 2003 study did prove that the Mirena IUD’s hormonal effects extend beyond the uterus.6 And in another study, progesterone-containing IUDs were successfully used to treat a certain type of cancer.7

Progesterone and cancer

Progesterone, of which the Mirena IUD contains an artificial version, has long been considered a hormone that raises the risk of some cancers. A Michigan State University Study confirmed the increased risk of more invasive, deadlier breast cancers being linked to the hormone.8 Progesterone-type hormones are linked to a number of cancers, including breast, ovarian, and uterine.9

The Mirena IUD has been on the market for more than a decade. In 2009, more than 8 percent of contraception users chose the IUD as their method of birth control with the Mirena IUD being one of the most popular products used.10

Intrauterine devices are supposed to be a long-term birth control product that is both safe and effective. However, like some of its predecessors (Dalkon Shield), the Mirena IUD does cause some serious problems, including cancer risks and other complications. If you or someone you know has suffered from IUD complications, you may need to act to protect your or his or her legal rights. Contact an experienced personal injury or products liability attorney for help.

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