Many women prefer not to use oral birth control pills. Other forms of birth control provide a practical alternative. NuvaRing is a hormonal contraceptive device, which a woman can use on a monthly basis. Many women successfully and safely use NuvaRing, but some women may suffer complications if they use the device. Clinical trials demonstrate that this is a particular problem for certain groups of women.
How NuvaRing® affects your body
Once placed in the vagina, NuvaRing1 releases a controlled dose of hormones, which affect the woman’s body. These hormones cause the cervical mucus to thicken, which creates a physical barrier through which a sperm cannot reach an egg. Additionally, the hormones in NuvaRing suppress ovulation, reducing the chances that the woman’s body will produce any eggs to be fertilized at all. Women wear the device for three weeks, after which they remove it in order to have a normal menstrual period. They then place a new device a week later.
NuvaRing approval and marketing
In 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration2 (FDA) approved NuvaRing for use as a contraceptive. The device went on sale the following year, and millions of women have used NuvaRing since. The manufacturer3 (Merck) markets the device as a convenient method of birth control. The manufacturer states that NuvaRing works as well as oral contraceptives and that the device is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Women suffering complications and injuries from the use of NuvaRing are now taking legal action, claiming that the manufacturer has not done enough to advertise warnings to women about the risks of using NuvaRing.
Clinical trials and marketing
The manufacturer4 uses the findings from medical studies within the advice given to health-care professionals. The company states that in a study that compares NuvaRing with oral contraceptives, 95 percent of women using NuvaRing reported that the device was easy to insert and remove. The manufacturer also lists the most common adverse events. These are:
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Vaginal secretion
- Weight gain
Other clinical studies indicate some patients may be exposed to other risks.
Clinical studies highlighting the risk of NuvaRing
A major study by the FDA5 reviewed the risks associated with combined hormonal contraceptives. The study showed that women using NuvaRing were at higher risk of serious cardiovascular problems, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Similarly, the New England Journal of Medicine reported in 20126 that patients using a vaginal ring were up to three times more likely to suffer blood clots. Between 1997 and 2012, the FDA received reports of 5,357 adverse events related to the use of NuvaRing. The drug safety report lists the top three events7 as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and metrorrhagia (heavy bleeding).
Women suffering complications and injuries from NuvaRing are successfully filing class action lawsuits against the manufacturer. These women claim that the marketing and advice given by Merck does not adequately highlight the risks, citing clinical trials and medical studies as evidence of the risks. If you or a loved one suffers a NuvaRing injury, contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible for further advice.