Lawsuits, health concerns with NuvaRing contraceptive - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawsuits, health concerns with NuvaRing contraceptive

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(WMC TV) - Her medical bills top $3,000.

She takes two doses of blood thinners a day.

Alexis Wilkerson said she's suffered continual pain and financial burden since doctors diagnosed her with a pulmonary blood clot after she started using the NUVARING contraceptive.

"I had a lot of pain in the left side of my lung," she said. "Lots of shortness of breath, feeling tired, just not my normal self."

She said she experienced none of those symptoms before she used NUVARING, a vaginal ring that releases two hormones.

"The only thing it could have been was from the NUVARING," she said.

According to our sister station WLOX, citing legal source, as of last August, more than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed concerning NUVARING in Missouri alone. They allege its manufacturer, Merck, failed to adequately test or market the potential side effects of the birth control device.

Last September, Amanda Craft of Picayune, MS, sued Merck in a New Jersey court. Her suit alleges NUVARING directly contributed to her suffering deep vein thrombosis. A message left on her home's voice mail was not returned.

The lawsuits are awaiting litigation, despite the fact that Merck's web site clearly discloses the risks and potential side effects of using NUVARING, including blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

"Blood clots have long been known as a risk associated with combined hormonal contraceptives," wrote Merck spokesperson Lainie Keller in an e-mail. "The FDA-approved patient information and physician package labeling for NUVARING® include this information. All combination hormonal contraceptive products in the U.S., including NUVARING, carry a boxed warning on serious cardiovascular events, especially in women who smoke.

"We are confident that Merck has provided appropriate and timely information about NUVARING to consumers and the medical, scientific and regulatory communities. We remain confident in the safety profile and effectiveness of NUVARING, and will continue to always act in the best interest of patients."

Wilkerson said her doctor ordered her to stop using NUVARING until she's had more blood tests -- more bills her insurance company may not cover.

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