Image of birth control device NuvaRing by Wikimedia Commons
Bad News for the NuvaRing by Jeffrey Dach MD
In my office lately, we have seen a growing number of young women using the NuvaRing contraceptive device. These women are reporting anxiety, depression, insomnia, headache, and other symptoms. The NuvaRing is a contraceptive intra-uterine device (IUD) containing synthetic hormones, a form of birth control.
See upper left image: This is an image of the NuvaRing Contraceptive Intra Uterine Device (IUD). This device is impregnated with synthetic hormones that cause blood clots and stroke. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Stroke from Synthetic Hormones in Oral Contraceptives, Birth Control Pills
A previous article discussed the adverse effects of synthetic hormones in birth control pills.(1) One dreaded complication is embolic stroke. Working in the hospital as an interventional radiologist over the years, one of my jobs was to perform angiograms on young women who suffered a stroke while on birth control pills. The referring doctors ordered angiograms on these young women to get a look at the cerebral arteries, which were always normal since the blood clots had already dissolved, leaving behind a residual stroke, also called a cerebral infarct. Most of these unfortunate victims had already recovered function. However, some had completed strokes with permanent neurological damage with weakness or paralysis of an extremity. This created the unforgettable image of an otherwise healthy young woman holding a paralyzed arm at her side. After seeing a number of these young stroke victims, I confess to a sense of uneasiness and dismay with a pharmaceutical industry that considers stroke from birth control pills "an acceptable risk" of treatment.
Stroke from the Nuva-Ring
The older birth control pill has been supplanted by the newer Nuva-Ring device, merely another synthetic hormone product, for preventing pregnancy. Similar to the birth control pill, the Nuva-Ring increases the risk of blood clot formation, stroke and heart attack. A recent 2012 New England Journal study showed a 300% increased risk of stroke and heart attack in NuvaRing users compared to placebo.(2) This is not good, and such negative findings are usually the death knell for the drug which ends up banned or at least given a Black Box warning by the FDA. None of this has happened yet for the Nuva Ring, and it should.
FDA Adverse Reporting System
My previous article dealt with the warning signs of a "bad drug". One of these warning signs is the the FDA adverse reporting system. Look at numbers and types of adverse events. (3,4,5) (8)
As of Sep 3, 2012: 8,418 people reported side effects from the Nuvaring.(5) Here is the list:
(1) Deep vein thrombosis : 3,434 reports.
(2) Pulmonary embolism : 2,467 reports.
(3) Anxiety : 1,387 reports. and is moderate
(4) Metrorrhagia : 1,253 reports.
(5) Headache : 829 reports.
(6) Depression: 652 reports.
(7) Nausea : 646 reports.
(8) Migraine: 633 reports. It's more common among females aged 20-29 years old, and can be severe
(9) Thrombosis : 549 reports.
(10) Hypercoagulation : 483 reports.
Bad Drug Litigation - NuvaRing
Another warning sign of a "bad drug" is the number court cases in drug litigation. (6,7) About a thousand women are in litigation with Merck, the Nuva-Ring manufacturer, claiming the Nuva-Ring caused stroke, heart attack or death. (6,7) This is not a good sign.
What is the Alternative to the Nuva-Ring?
The Copper T - IUD.
For women who want some form of birth control, a healthier non-hormonal option is the Copper T-IUD from Paragard. This is now recommended by the American College of OB/Gyn for women of all child bearing ages. The Copper T-IUD is safer and more effective, and less costly than the traditional Oral Contraceptive Pill, as was discussed in my previous article. The Copper T- IUD is vastly safer than the Nuva-Ring, since the Copper T - IUD is Non-Hormonal, meaning it does not contain the synthetic hormones that cause stroke, heart attack and death.
Author: Jeffrey Dach MD
Articles with Related Interest:
Protect Your Family From Bad Drugs
Adverse Effects of Birth Control Pills