Intrauterine devices are a highly effective and relatively safe option for birth control. Planned Parenthood says that the ParaGard IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception available.
Countless women in the United States have opted to get ParaGard IUDs implanted after learning of its benefits, such as a 99.9 percent effectiveness rate at preventing pregnancy and the ability to last up to 10 years. But, what most of them didn’t know is that IUDs like ParaGard carry the risk of severe and unexpected complications.
Find out why women are thinking about filing lawsuits against the makers of the device.
What is the ParaGard IUD?
ParaGard is a type of intrauterine device designed to be implanted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. The T-shaped plastic device is inserted into the uterus to provide long-term and reversible contraception for women. A copper wire is wrapped around the stem of the frame.
Manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals, ParaGard was first approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984 and made it to the market four years later. It has since been recommended for use in a greater pool of women.
ParaGard vs. Mirena
ParaGard is currently the only copper IUD available in the United States. Unlike other IUDs on the market like Mirena, ParaGard does not use any hormones.
Paragard works by continuously releasing copper into the uterine cavity. The copper is then believed to interfere with sperm transport and fertilization of the egg. It may also prevent implantation, according to the prescribing information sheet.
Mirena, on the other hand, works by releasing a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. The hormone prevents ovulation and stops the passage of sperm into the cervix by closing it off.
The two popular types of IUDs have different time frames for efficacy. Mirena lasts up to 5 years while ParaGard lasts up to 10 years.
ParaGard Side Effects
Common side effects are associated with ParaGard. These include:
- Bleeding between periods
- Device expulsion
- Heavier and longer menstrual periods
Along with the common side effects, the makers of ParaGard warn of more severe but infrequent adverse events associated with the device.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
In some cases, ParaGard can cause an infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby organs. Infections are most likely to happen in the first 20 days after implantation. Although treatment is usually possible with antibiotics, a pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to other dangerous conditions, including infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pain in the pelvis, and even death.
The device has also been known to perforate the uterine wall. This most commonly happens during placement of the ParaGard, but it can also occur from device migration. If the uterine wall becomes pierced, it could require surgery or lead to infection, scarring, or damage to other organs.
A ParaGard device may be expelled from the uterus — partially or fully. This happens mostly in women who have never been pregnant. A partial expulsion could require surgery to remove the entire device. Birth control also becomes ineffective at that point.
Although there have been many reports of women who suffered serious injury due to the migration of the device inside their bodies, one serious complication that may be linked to ParaGard is pseudotumor cerebri (PTC).
PTC is a brain condition that causes someone to have the same symptoms as a brain tumor. Sometimes known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), the condition can manifest itself as migraines, chronic headaches, disorientation, blindness, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. In some cases, it could lead to permanent blindness.
Dozens of reports have been sent to the FDA through its adverse events reporting system over severe and unexpected complications related to ParaGard, such as difficulty removing the device.
As a result of the growing number of reports about the safety of ParaGard and other IUDs, lawyers around the country are pursuing cases from women who have been seriously injured by ParaGard. If the manufacturer of the device knew about the risks but failed to warn the public, they should be held accountable.
Contact a qualified lawyer immediately if you or a loved one have suffered from device migration, PTC, pain, ectopic pregnancy, or internal bleeding as a result of ParaGard.