Mirena, an intrauterine contraceptive device made by Bayer, is promoted by the maker as a highly effective, convenient form of birth control, specifically for women who have had a child.
However, these devices have been the subject of many lawsuits, and they have caused concerns in the medical community because of the terrible complications associated with their use in patients.
Not only does Mirena come with many risks, including perforation of the uterine wall, infertility and infection, it is now being linked to the occurrence of a condition called pseudotumor cerebri.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) is the increase of pressure inside the skull. The pressure might be caused by the presence of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull which can lead to excessive pressure on the brain and lead to many side effects, some of which can be permanent.
How does PTC affect the body?
The pressure put on the brain can lead to the swelling of the optic nerve, potentially leading to loss of vision. If there is damage to the optic nerve, the loss of vision is usually permanent. The effects of PTC can occur rapidly or gradually, and they might reoccur after a period of subsiding.
Similarity to Brain Tumors
As the name implies, the symptoms of the pseudotumor cerebri closely resemble those of a brain tumor. It is not uncommon for a sufferer to be misdiagnosed with a brain tumor until further testing reveals otherwise.
What are the symptoms of PTC?
There are several symptoms that might indicate the presence of PTC, many of which impact vision. These symptoms include:
- Moderate to severe headaches, which sometimes worsen with eye movement
- Occasional blindness
- Flashes of light
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Restricted peripheral vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain in back, neck or shoulder.
How is PTC detected?
Doctors might be able to detect PTC through eye exams, MRI’s or CT scans, which can be used to rule out the presence of a tumor. Unfortunately, many sufferers must be subjected to a lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, that will measure the pressure inside the skull. In these painful procedures, a needle is inserted between vertebrae in the lower part of the back to retrieve fluid for further testing.
Treatment for PTC
In some milder cases, oral medication might alleviate some of the symptoms associated with PTC. More severe cases require surgery. In a spinal fluid shunt, a tube is inserted into either the spine or the brain to drain excess fluid. Another possible surgery used for treatment involves cutting an area surrounding the optic nerve to drain excess fluid.
As a result, doctors and patients might use these products without knowing the potential consequences. Several lawsuits have been filed against Bayer and other companies making similar products, to hold them accountable for the damages their products have caused consumers.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a Mirena device, our attorneys want to hear from you. Our firm has helped many clients recover compensation for the injuries caused by defective medicines and medical devices like Mirena. Contact Pogust Braslow & Millrood today to learn more about your options.