Mirena IUD: Diagnosing Intracranial Hypertension
Several scientific studies show that the primary hormone in the Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD), levonorgestrel, increases the risk of developing Intracranial Hypertension (IH). IH, also known as Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC), is caused by the overproduction of spinal fluid within the skull. The excess fluid puts immense pressure on the brain, triggering warning signs similar to those experienced with brain tumors. Mirena users suffering from IH often endure daily pressure headaches, blurry vision or vision loss, and ringing in the ears, along with other alarming symptoms. Recognizing the indicators of IH may seem fairly straightforward. Diagnosing the condition, however, involves ruling out a vast number of other health problems with similar side effects, before testing for the condition itself.
Doctors often begin the diagnosis process by performing a physical exam, including a careful analysis of the eyes to look for papilledema, or swelling of the optic nerve. If an interior examination of the eyes with an ophthalmoscope shows swelling, the doctor will then check the field of vision for signs of vision loss. At this point, imaging of the skull becomes necessary to determine if any other abnormalities, such as a brain tumor, could be causing the swollen nerve. The most common brain scans ordered include an MRI and a CT scan. In cases of IH, patients often receive normal scan results. Accordingly, once these tests have eliminated other possible causes of the condition, one final test is performed to confirm the IH diagnosis.
Because IH is characterized by increased spinal fluid, doctors must assess the pressure of that fluid to reach their final conclusion. Testing the pressure of the spinal fluid requires a procedure called a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap. During a lumbar puncture, a needle is inserted into the spinal canal in the lower back and a sample of spinal fluid is removed. The pressure of the fluid is then measured. If levels are higher than average, while fluid contents remain normal, an IH diagnosis is established. Drainage of the fluid may release some pressure in the skull, resulting in immediate, although temporary, relief from some IH symptoms. Managing IH over the life of a patient, however, requires further and ongoing treatment.
Based on compelling scientific research, Bayer, the manufacturer of Mirena, should have known that using levonorgestrol in its IUD would increase a woman’s risk of developing intracranial hypertension. Shockingly, Bayer has done absolutely nothing to warn users of the potentially life-changing dangers its defective product may cause. By neglecting to adequately warn doctors and patients, Bayer’s sales increased while the health of many innocent women deteriorated. Our experienced lawyers fight for individuals who have been harmed by defective drugs and products. If you or someone you know has suffered from intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri after implantation of a Mirena IUD, call The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW for a FREE, confidential consultation. At The Yost Legal Group, there is no fee or expense unless you recover.