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Recall for Nuvaring Birth Control Should Be Issued Due to “Potentially Lethal” Side Effects: Vanity Fair

Harvey Kirk

A recent article in Vanity Fair magazine asks why a NuvaRing recall has not been issued, indicating that side effects of the birth control ring have been proven to be lethal for some women.

NuvaRing is a controversial form of birth control that is delivered through a vaginal ring that provides a combination of ethinyl estradiol and the “third generation” progestin etonogestrel. It has been aggressively marketed by the manufacturer as a “hassel free” form of birth control, particularly targeting young women. However, side effects of NuvaRing have been associated with an increased risk of pulonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), stroke and other blood clot problems.

The Vanity Fair article (subscription required) calls for a NuvaRing to be removed from the market, pointing out that the FDA has determined that it carries a 56 percent increased risk of blood clots when compared to some birth control pills.

Writer Marie Brenner tells the story of Erika Langhart, a 24-year old who died on Thanksgiving Day in 2011 after suffering a massive double pulmonary embolism. She had been taking NuvaRing for four years. The article also details how Megan Henry, a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athletes program suffered dozens of blood clots in her lungs, nearly ending her career as an athlete and placing her at a permanent high risk of blood clots, particularly if she gets pregnant.

The article asks, given the known safety risks, why the FDA has not recalled NuvaRing from the market, and whether women who knew the risks would use the birth control device.

The article comes as Merck continues to face thousands of NuvaRing injury lawsuits filed by women throughout the country who allege the drug maker failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the blood clot risk associated with using the birth control ring.

In June 2012, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at data on 1.6 million women, finding that users of NuvaRing could face a three fold increase in the risk of blood clots.

In October 2011, the FDA released a study on the blood clot risk associated several newer forms of birth control, including both NuvaRing and Ortho Evra, as well as Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based birth control pills.  The report found that use of NuvaRing and Ortho Evra both appeared to raise the risk of venous thombosis about 55% over levonorgestrel.

NuvaRing Lawsuit Status

In the federal court system, the NuvaRing litigation is centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel in the Eastern District of Missouri. In October, Judge Sippel placed a hold on the NuvaRing pretrial proceedings and pushed back the first trial from January to April of 2014 as the court tries to get a better grasp on the number of NuvaRing cases that have been or will be filed.

If a NuvaRing settlement agreement is not reached to resolve cases by early next year, it is expected that the early trial dates will proceed forward, which are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may react to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout a number of claims.

While NuvaRing remains on the market and the first trial dates are rapidly approaching, the NuvaRing lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are continuing to review additional cases for women who have suffered a:

  • Blood Clot Injury
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Sudden Death

To review a potential claim for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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