Since 2000, Bayer AG’s Mirena Hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD) has been marketed to women in the United States as an ideal long-term contraceptive alternative to birth control pills and injections. However, recent research has shown that the Mirena IUD comes with some drastically under-publicized risks.
According to a report from the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, nearly half of all physicians in the United States lack comprehensive knowledge of the risks associated with using an IUD contraceptive like Bayer’s Mirena. The Bixby report was based on surveys conducted between 2010 and 2012 of approximately 250 doctors, nurses, midwives, and doctor’s assistants. The participants were asked whether they considered the Mirena IUD safe, and roughly half of all doctors said no.
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to Bayer after reports surfaced that the pharmaceutical giant had been using deceptive internet marketing techniques to promote the birth control device’s benefits to medical professionals while essentially sweeping its risks and downsides under the rug. Risks associated with the device can be severe and include organ perforation, heavy bleeding, infertility, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Instead of providing the proper information to doctors and patients, Bayer’s marketing initiatives were focused only on touting the Mirena IUD as a safe and convenient form of birth control for “busy moms.”
On November 20, 2012, the FDA issued an Adverse Event Report stating that it had received over 40,000 complaints about the device in a mere five-month span. Most of the complaints centered on three serious side effects: expulsion, dislocation, and excessive vaginal bleeding. About 6 percent of women who filed complaints ultimately required surgery to remove a dislocated Mirena IUD. Today, most women remain unaware of the serious risks associated with the Mirena IUD.
Adverse reactions linked to use of the Mirena IUD include the following: