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June 1, 2011

Questioning NuvaRing Safety: Blood clot risks cause concern

Some women and their doctors are expressing concern about the safety of the contraceptive Nuvaring following mounting claims alleging this birth control method may cause life-threatening blood clots.

A recent article in Marie Claire highlights one incident involving 26-year-old Christen Childs, a woman who suffered from a blood clot in her leg that broke apart and traveled to her lungs. Childs spent a week bedridden in the hospital receiving blood-thinning injections four times a day before being sent home. After running numerous tests, her doctors determined that her birth control, NuvaRing, was the likely cause behind her near-death experience.

In 2001, the FDA approved NuvaRing as the world's first vaginal birth-control ring. The contraceptive is inserted once a month and releases hormones directly into the bloodstream, making it a popular alternative to daily oral contraceptives. In 2010, an estimated 5.5 million prescriptions were written in the United States alone, and NuvaRing manufacturer Merck grossed an estimated $559 million in global sales.

Since its release, the FDA has received approximately 1,000 reports of potential NuvaRing-related blood clots, and more than 700 American women have filed lawsuits against Merck alleging the manufacturer downplayed NuvaRing's health risks.

Some researchers link the desogestrel used in many third and fourth generation contraceptives to an increased risk of blood clots. In 2009, the British Medical Journal released two studies that supported the desogestrel-related concerns. Both investigations discovered that women taking fourth generation birth control pills were approximately twice as likely to develop blood clots compared to those who were using second-generation contraceptives.

Based on this information, some women are reconsidering whether NuvaRing is the right contraceptive choice for them. Patients should not stop taking or change their birth control without first consulting a physician. It is also important to note that all hormonal birth control with additional estrogen increases the risk of potentially developing blood clots.

Motley Rice lawyers are currently litigating cases involving NuvaRing on behalf of women who used this contraceptive and suffered serious injuries or wrongful death.

Read the full article on NuvaRing safety in Marie Claire.

Learn more about how medical lawyers fight on behalf of individuals suffering from potentially dangerous drugs and fight to hold accountable those responsible for negligent medical care, corporate wrongdoing, and inadequate warning, research and testing.