Thousands of Women File Lawsuits Against Makers of Nuvaring

Illustration for article titled Thousands of Women File Lawsuits Against Makers of Nuvaring

Well, here's some scary-as-shit news from the world of "being a woman is really crappy and hard and dangerous sometimes."


Vanity Fair published a pretty damning article about the contraception, "Why Is Potentially Lethal Contraceptive NuvaRing Still on the Market?" In it, they tell the story of 24-year-old Erika Langhart, who suddenly died in 2011 after suffering multiple heart attacks on Thanksgiving. Her doctors never confirmed her death was because of her NuvaRing, but when her mother told the ER doctor she was using one, he said, "I thought so, because she's having a pulmonary embolism."

As of today, thousands of women are filing lawsuits against Merck, the manufacturers of NuvaRing, after suffering blood clots or embolisms while using NuvaRing. Most hormone-based birth control comes with a warning about blood clots, but as the article points out, would women still use NuvaRing if theyknew that the F.D.A. had determined that there was a fifty-six percent increased risk of blood clots when it was compared with birth-control pills using earlier forms of progestin? My guess is probably not.


Of course, Merck made $623 million in NuvaRing sales in 2012, and you can bet your bottom dollar a drug company isn't about to give up its precious, precious money without a fight.

Photo via Getty

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*crosses eyes* Ok, 56% increase compared to earlier progestin-based birth control pills - which means, what? (Because it's not just a 56% increase, which is what most people will read it as.)

Aha. Amazing what 2 minutes of reading will bring up. Of course, it's not nearly as fear-mongering:

The study analyzed the relative risk of venous thrombosis events (VTE) in 1,626,158 women from 2001 to 2010. It concluded that the relative risk of VTE in users of vaginal rings was 6.5 times higher than non-users of hormonal contraception, and 1.9 times higher than users of combined oral contraceptives.

Here's the study (population study from Denmark, spanning 2001-2010): Øjvind Lindegaard et al., Venous Thrombosis in Users of Non-Oral Hormonal Contraception: Follow-Up Study, Denmark 2001-10, 344 BRIT. MED. J. 2990 (2012)