Mirena is a hormone-emitting intrauterine device (IUD) intended to prevent pregnancy. In some cases, however, it is not effective and can result in an ectopic pregnancy outside of the uterus, that is potentially life-threatening. Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against Bayer, Mirena’s manufacturer due to complications like Mirena ectopic pregnancy.
Mirena is a contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD), manufactured by Bayer Healthcare. It is a small, T-shaped device constructed out of a hormone-eluting plastic which releases the medication, levonorgestrel, over a period of years. The device is intended to prevent pregnancy and is suggested as a longer-term contraceptive method for women who have already had one or more children. Though Mirena is considered highly effective, it has also resulted in the occurrence of ectopic pregnancy in some women.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
In normal pregnancy, an egg that has been fertilized travels to the uterus and implants in the uterine wall as an embryo. Also sometimes called “tubal pregnancy”, ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity, most commonly in the fallopian tubes but sometimes in the cervix, ovaries or abdomen. Ectopic pregnancy is not usually considered viable and may pose a serious risk to the mother due to threat of hemorrhage.
Mirena Ectopic Pregnancies
Mirena is said to be more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy with a failure rate of 0.2% per year, however clinical studies have shown that half of those pregnancies may be classified as ectopic. Patients who have a history of ectopic pregnancy, tubal surgery or pelvic infection have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy when using Mirena.
Mirena Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
Ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants outside of the uterus. Most commonly, implantation occurs in the fallopian tubes and as cellular division occurs, the tube or other tissues may rupture and bleed. Internal bleeding can result in severe pain and may become life-threatening if not controlled.
Signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include:
- Pain or inflammation in lower abdomen
- Pain during urination
- Vaginal bleeding
Ectopic pregnancy can mimic the symptoms of other conditions such as:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Urinary system complications
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy
If an ectopic pregnancy is not discovered quickly, the rapid cell division of the growing embryo may cause the fallopian tube to rupture. This may cause excessive internal bleeding or hemorrhage which can be life-threatening for the mother.
Symptoms of ruptured ectopic pregnancy may include:
- Sudden and severe pain in abdomen
- Swelling of abdomen
- Back, shoulder or pelvic pain
- Pressure of rectum
- Dizziness or fainting
- Symptoms of low blood pressure
Hemorrhage associated with ruptured ectopic pregnancy may lead to life-threatening blood loss. symptoms of ruptured ectopic pregnancy should be treated as a medical emergency. In the western world, death due to ectopic pregnancy is rare but it may result in infertility as surgery is usually required to remove the affected fallopian tube and other involved tissues.
Resolving Mirena Ectopic Pregnancy
A ruptured ectopic pregnancy is treated as a medical emergency due to risk of life-threatening hemorrhage or blood loss. Surgery will be performed to control internal bleeding and may include removal of the fallopian tubes and other involved tissue, resulting in termination of the pregnancy.
If ectopic pregnancy is discovered prior to rupture, removal of the device and termination of the pregnancy will be recommended. Termination may be performed through laparoscopy and a medication known as methotrexate may be used to assist in dissolution of the pregnancy. In some cases, removal of the fallopian tube may also be required even when rupture has not occurred. This may have an impact future fertility.
Since its return to the U.S. market in 2000, The IUD has grown in popularity, now accounting for over 10% of birth control products given by physicians. Mirena has been used in 150 million women worldwide and is highly effective in most cases but may pose a serious risk in some women. Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against Bayer Healthcare, manufacturer of Mirena.