The popular intrauterine device Mirena has been shown to cause a debilitating complication called pseudotumor cerebri; a condition characterized by painful headaches that mimic the symptoms of a brain tumor. Hundreds of women affected by this “false brain tumor” have begun to file lawsuits against Mirena’s manufacturer Bayer AG.
What is Mirena?
Mirena is the brand name of an intrauterine device (IUD) that contains a progestin hormone and is manufactured by Bayer AG. The device was approved by the FDA in 2000 for use in preventing unintended pregnancy. The intrauterine device releases the hormone levonorgestrel, which is used to manage heavy menstrual periods, to prevent excessive build of the lining of the uterus in those on estrogen replacement therapy, in addition to its main purpose as a semi-permanent birth control method. Mirena typically costs around $844 USD and is intended to last between 3 and 5 years.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), also known as benign intracranial hypertension (BIH) or Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a painful neurological disorder that causes sufferers to experience symptoms ranging from intense headaches to temporary blindness. Many symptoms associated with PTC mimic those of a brain tumor. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to swelling of the optic disc in the eye; which can lead to vision loss. Pseudo cerebri is diagnosed with a brain scan and a lumbar puncture. The lumbar puncture may also provide relief from the symptoms. Some patients respond to medical treatment while others require corrective surgery. The condition presents most often in women ages 20-40.
Other terms used to describe PTC include:
- idiopathic intracranial hypertension,
- benign intracranial hypertension,
- pseudotumor cerebri syndrome,
- PTC syndrome,
- primary intracranial hypertension, and
- secondary intracranial hypertension.
Pseudotumor Cerebri Symptoms
Pseudotumor cerebri may be hard to recognize and diagnose due to a wide range of non-specific symptoms. If you or a loved one has experienced two or more of the following symptoms, contact your physician immediately:
- Moderate to severe headaches that worsen with eye movement
- Painful pressure behind eyes
- Ringing in the ears that pulse with heartbeat
- Blurred or dimmed vision (tunnel vision)
- Brief episodes of blindness, lasting only a few seconds and affecting one or both eyes
- Decreased peripheral vision
- Double vision
- Seeing light flashes
- Neck, back or shoulder pain
Only a Doctor can properly diagnose and treat pseudotumor cerebri. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with the condition after receiving a Mirena implant, you are not alone.
Pseudotumor Cerebri Risk Factors
In addition to Mirena IUD devices, pseudotumor cerebri has numerous risk factors; though a concrete cause for the disease has not been established. Some of these risk factors include:
- Addison’s disease
- Behcet’s syndrome
- Blood-clotting disorders
- Kidney disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Underactive parathyroid glands
Mirena’s & Pseudotumor Cerebri
A number of women from different states across America have contacted our law firm reporting that they were experienced debilitating diagnoses of PTC after receiving Mirena IUD devices.
Many of these women have bonded together in numerous support groups on social networks such as facebook, calling for an immediate recall of what they’ve called “Bayer’s dangerous device”.
One woman (whose name has been omitted due to privacy concerns) recalled her experience with Mirena, “I had a Mirena for 5 years, it became embedded in my uterus & I had to have surgery to remove it. After I went on implanon for 18 mos & gained 40 pounds in those 18 mos. I had it removed due to all the headaches, insomnia, irritability & fatigue plus all of the weight gain. I’m on nothing now, I have been diagnosed with IH for 7 months & been to numerous specialists at Duke. I strongly believe my condition was due to the combination of the 2 hormones for 6+ years.” This woman is not alone in her suffering, as hundreds of women have recalled similar issues in this single forum.
Mirena lawsuits have been filed in an attempt to hold Mirena’s manufacturer, Bayer AG, accountable for their injuries.