Contraceptive devices have long been a point of contention and controversy. NuvaRing is not the first to find its product involved in heated debates and injurious discoveries. Besides issues related to side effects, injuries, and responsibilities, NuvaRing also suffers from ill-effects of design. Designed to be worn for 3 weeks and the removed for one, if the device is accidentally or intentionally removed the protection is reduced.
NuvaRing came to market with FDA approval both marketed and manufactured by Merck in 2001. This flexible plastic ring is a contraceptive device inserted into the vagina by the user. Emitting low doses of both estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream, the hormones effect the female reproductive cycle in such a way as to prevent contraception.
NuvaRing, as is common with hormonal contraceptive devices, is not without side effects. This self-administered monthly birth control method may be convenient, but is it safe? Hormonal contraceptives have been known to be associated with increased risk of cardio events which could include heart related events, strokes, or blood clots. With NuvaRing, both common side effects and serious side effects are not uncommon (5,000 reports of adverse side effects received by FDA). The serious side effects have even caused death.
Here is a list of common side effects associated with NuvaRing:
o Weight gain in 14% of women
o Nausea, cramping, and bloating
o Breast tenderness
o Vaginal infections
o Irregular bleeding
Here is a list of serious side effects that have been linked to death:
o Blood clots
o Organ damage
o Strokes and heart attacks
o Cervical cancer risk increase
o Aggravation of pre-existing conditions
The NuvaRing timeline summary:
• 2001 – FDA approval
• 2010 – “10vor10” a Swiss television program with permission of the FDA received access to an FDA databank and linked NuvaRing to 40 deaths
• 2011 – FDA linked NuvaRing and other vaginal ring contraceptives to increased risk of blood clots. Study published stating the increase of 56% was further multiplied by nearly five times after one year of use when compared to other hormonal contraceptives.
• 2012 – New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Medicine published unfavorable medical studies related to NuvaRing.
It is also a worthy notation that NuvaRing is the recipient of at least 950 current and pending lawsuits.