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2002 – Mirena Migrates to Upper Abdomen, Causes Ectopic Pregnancy

Posted in Mirena

Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) are a very common, effective means of hormonal contraceptives.  Some reports cite that an IUD made by Bayer Pharmaceuticals marketed under the brand name Mirena® is the most commonly-used IUD in the world, “with prevalence rates ranging among countries from 2% to 80% of contraceptive users.”[1]

Though Mirena® is an effective contraceptive, it comes with risk of significant adverse health effects.  Recently, it has been found that Mirena® IUDs may move (“migrate”) outside the uterus by tearing a hole in the uterine wall (“perforation”) thereby entering the abdominal cavity where it is free to come in contact with other organs, possibly causing a myriad of complications and almost always requiring surgery to remove.

Another complication associated with Mirena® use is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.  Ectopic pregnancy occurs when conception has taken place outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.  PubMed Health, a prominent online medical encyclopedia curated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine states that ectopic pregnancy “is a life-threatening condition to the mother,”[2] and writes that in ectopic pregnancy, “The baby (fetus) cannot survive.”[3]

Research by the National Institutes of Health concerning the safety of Mirena® has found that while the overall risk of pregnancy while using Mirena® is low, “up to half of pregnancies with Mirena® in place are ectopic.”[4] (emphasis added)

Recently, a study published by Kwong et al. (2002) in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care titled “Ectopic pregnancy with a translocated Mirena® intrauterine System” illustrates the case of a 39-year-old woman in whom a Mirena® IUD migrated through the abdomen to the left hypochondrium (beneath the ribs on the left side) the ribs, and an ectopic pregnancy occurred.[5]

After two years’ implantation of her Mirena® device,[6] the woman came to her doctor, citing five days of “per vaginum blood spotting”[7] and pain from the upper-left portion of the hip bone.[8]  It was also noted at this time that her last menstrual period was seven weeks prior to the admission date.  While under her doctor’s care, hormone tests were taken, and it was found that levels of Beta-hCG were at 1815 IU/L,[9] suggestive of a pregnancy between its sixth and eighth week of gestation.[10]

Ultrasound of the uterus, however, showed an empty uterus, void of her Mirena® device, and without a fetus.[11]  Thus, X-ray was used, and the IUD was located “in the left hypochondrium.”[12]  “Clinical findings and investigations were suggestive of an ectopic pregnancy and a laparoscopy was performed.”[13]  Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small incision in the abdomen is made, and through which a small camera is inserted.  “At laparoscopy, there was blood in the pelvis and a mass, about 3 cm in diameter, was found in the ampulla of the left fallopian tube suggestive of an ectopic pregnancy.”[14]

The Mirena® was removed, and fortunately, the woman made an uneventful recovery, and was released two days after the operation.[15]

Thankfully, this woman survived the ectopic pregnancy and did not experience any dangerous complications from her surgery.  This, however, is not always the case.  Moreover, it is likely that the woman discussed in the Kwong et al. (2002) article was unaware of the possibility of Mirena® migration and the risk for ectopic pregnancy before use of the IUD: it is currently alleged that Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Mirena® concealed these risks from users, and misled users about the benefits of the device.

If you used a Mirena® intrauterine device and experienced Mirena® migration or ectopic pregnancy, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation through a Mirena® side-effects lawsuit.  At your convenience, you may contact our team of Mirena® lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation by phone at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us.

We have the experience and resources to fight even the largest of pharmaceutical manufacturers and win the justice you deserve.  We are here to help every step of the way.

Our Mirena Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have additional questions about Mirena.

[1] Erian, M. et al. (2011) “The Wandering Mirena: Laparoscopic Retrieval” Journal of the Society of Laproendoscopic Surgeons Vol. 15; pp. 127-130

[2] “Ectopic Pregnancy – PubMed Health” PubMed Health.  U.S. National Library of Medicine. © 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001897/> Accessed 21 February 2013

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Mirena (Levonorgestrel) Intrauterine Device [Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc.]” DailyMed. National Institutes of Health. Available at <http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=11844> Accessed 21 February 2013

[5] Kwong, F.N.K. (2002) “Ectopic pregnancy with a translocated Mirena® intrauterine system” The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Vol. 28, No. 2; pp. 95-96

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “What is beta hCG?” OBfocus® © 2012 Focus Information Technology. Available at <http://www.obfocus.com/questions/qanda7.htm> Accessed 21 February 2013

[11] Kwong, F.N.K. (2002) “Ectopic pregnancy with a translocated Mirena® intrauterine system” The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Vol. 28, No. 2; pp. 95-96

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.