If you are a victim of a dangerous side effect or serious complication of a medication, our personal injury law firm is here to help with the management of your lawsuit. We can assist you if you have experienced complications with the popular birth control method, Nuvaring. Nuvaring lawsuits allege that Merck & Co. did not do enough to warn customers about the possible dangerous side effects of blood clots that could happen with using Nuvaring. The blood clots can leave serious damage and may even lead to death. In the filings, individuals complained that Merck % Co. did not do enough to test the active ingredient in Nuvaring, etonogestrel, before it released the Nuvarin. The complaints further allege that minor side effects were highlighted more so than the more serious ones brought on by blood clots.
What is Nuvaring?
Nuvaring is a small, flexible ring about 2 inches in diameter that is inserted monthly into the vagina as a form of birth control. You place a new one in, leaving it there for three consecutive weeks to release hormonal birth control. It is removed during week four and then a new one is placed after one “Nuvaring-free” week. Nuvaring releases a low-dose of hormonal birth control said to be 98% effective, similar to popular birth control pill options. Nuvaring received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 and is now one of the most popular prescription birth control methods used today.
Earlier this year, Merck % Co., the manufacturer of Nuvaring, reportedly settled 1,700 lawsuits for a total of $100 million.
It is important to understand the potential that exists for adverse side effects of Nuvaring and the symptoms for each. Having this knowledge can help you determine if you have a case to pursue.
Possible Adverse Side Effects of Nuvaring
1. Thrombosis (Blood Clot) When the lining of a blood vessel gets damaged, a blood clot forms. If clotting is formed during the body’s normal system of repair, there is little consequence. However, significant consequences can occur when a blood clot happens to an already damaged blood vessel. Death could be a consequence of a blood clot in a small blood vessel where the clot completely cuts off the flow of blood. Signs of a blood clot might include shortness of breath, pressure or squeezing of the chest, rapid heartbeat, pain in the shoulder, sudden weakness in the face, arms or legs, sudden blurred vision and/or sudden difficulty speaking.
2. Pulmonary Embolism Pulmonary embolism occurs when there is a blockage to one or more arteries of the lungs by a blood clot that has traveled from a different area of the body to the lungs. Pulmonary embolism most commonly occurs from a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg or pelvis. Symptoms include sudden shortness of breath without explanation, palpitations, chest pain and/or coughing up blood. Severe cases of pulmonary embolism can lead to abnormally low blood pressure or death.
3. Stroke A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced. The brain is deprived of oxygen and food which can lead to the death of some brain cells. Strokes can also lead to death. Symptoms to look for include trouble walking, difficulty speaking, difficulty being understood when speaking, headache, blurred vision or numbness or paralysis of the face, arms, or legs.
4. Heart Attack Impacting more than one million Americans annually, a heart attack occurs when there is permanent damage to the heart due to lack of blood supply. If a blood clot totally blocks an artery, the heart is deprived of the oxygen that it requires. It only takes a short time without this oxygen for the heart muscle cells to die, leaving permanent damage. Symptoms of a heart attack can include pressure and pain in the chest, feelings of heartburn, sweating, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath and rapid, irregular heartbeats. It is important to note that some individuals may experience a heart attack without any visible signs or symptoms. These “silent” heart attacks can impact anyone but can be more common in those with diabetes.
5. Sudden Death Sudden death, or sudden cardiac death, is a sudden, expected death caused by loss of heart functioning. It is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths. Sudden cardiac death is different from a heart attack although it can occur simultaneously with a heart attack. Different from a heart attack, sudden cardiac death occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and becomes irregular suddenly. The heart begins to beat at a dangerously fast pace. If help is not obtained immediately, sudden cardiac death can occur. Symptoms often mirror those of a heart attack including a racing heartbeat and dizziness. In more than 50% of cases, sudden cardiac death occurs without warning.