Last week, DrugNews reported on a newly-discovered and potentially dangerous side effect of the popular Mirena IUD contraceptive: intracranial hypertension that can cause neurological problems, blindness or hearing loss.
So far, at least ten women have filed lawsuits in federal courts alleging the device caused them to suffer headaches, hearing loss or permanent vision problems.
Now, DrugNews has learned that a federal panel will conduct a hearing later this month to decide if these growing Mirena blindness lawsuits should be consolidated to one central federal court for expedited handling.
There’s already a Mirena court in the Southern District of New York created especially for claims that the IUD perforated through patient’s uterus walls requiring surgery. At last report, there were 569 Mirena lawsuits still pending in that court awaiting trial or settlement.
On July 31st, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hold a hearing to decide whether to create a new court for the growing number of Mirena PTC claims.
Pseudotumor cerebri, or idiopathic intracranial hypertension (PTC/IIH), is a condition that occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid causes increased cranial pressure. This can cause headaches, ringing in the ears, and pressure on the optic nerve, resulting in long-lasting or permanent vision loss.
For decades, doctors have suspected that PTC/IIH is linked to the progestin hormone levonorgestrel, which is used in Mirena. Earlier IUDs like NorPlant even had warnings about PTC for patients.
However, Bayer, who makes and sells Mirena, failed to test for any link to PTC and has not given any warning to the more than 15 million women who have used it.
Now, a growing number of women claim they suffered vision loss from intracranial hypertension while using Mirena. Experts fear that thousands of women could have suffered from the condition without knowing it is linked to their birth control.
DrugNews will continue to monitor for research, warnings or health alerts pertaining to Mirena blindness and vision loss from PTC.
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.