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Shezad Malik MD JD
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NuvaRing Death and Blood Clot Injuries

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Over a thousand NuvaRing lawsuits have been filed alleging that women users of the medical product suffered serious side effects as a result of using the NuvaRing birth control.

The majority of reported side effects includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. There also have been cases of an increased risk of NuvaRing stroke, some of which have according to complaints resulted in the deaths of young women.

What is NuvaRing?

NuvaRing is a vaginal ring birth control product that is placed around the cervix and it releases a dose of synthetic hormones—etongestrel (a progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (estrogen)—over a 21-day period. The vaginal ring is removed after 3-weeks and then left out for a week to allow for menstruation. Then a new ring is inserted and the cycle is repeated.

NuvaRing works like oral contraceptive pills in that it suppresses ovulation. NuvaRing was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in 2001.

What is the problem with NuvaRing?

NuvaRing, along with other third- and fourth-generation contraceptives, has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis.

If a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the patient's brain or lung, this can cause a stroke or pulmonary embolism, which can have serious and fatal side effects for the patient. Patients who survive their stroke may wind up with lifelong injuries, including paralysis.

Latest FDA Medical Studies

In October 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicized a study of various new birth control methods and their link to cardiovascular complications.

The study found that the etongestrel/estradiol vaginal ring (NuvaRing) was associated with a "significantly higher risk of VTE [venous thromoembolic events] relative to low-estrogen comparators."

According to the study, called "Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (CHCs) and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Endpoints," the vaginal ring is a combined hormonal contraceptive that can cause higher cumulative exposure to estrogen, which increases the risk of a VTE.

2012 Danish Study

According to results of a study just published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), women may be at higher risk for blood clots with non-oral contraceptives, which include the Ortho Evra patch and NuvaRing compared with birth control pills,

The Danish study, conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, reviewed data from over 1.6 million healthy women between the ages of 15 and 49 who used various forms of birth control. They found a three times higher risk of blood clots associated with hormone-containing birth control pills, compared with non-hormone containing contraception, but surprisingly, an even higher risk for blood clots was linked with other types of non-oral hormonal contraception.

Specifically, women who used vaginal rings had a 6.5 times increased risk for venous thromboembolisms (VTEs), compared with non-users.

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