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Dalkon Shields Legacy: An Abridged History of IUD Safety in the US

Contraceptives like intrauterine devices are meant to be used as long-lasting birth control technique, medical industry journals report. Regardless of their growing popularity over the last few years, as far as contraceptives are involved IUDs are still the least liked in the United States. IUDs are inserted into the uterus and may persist for years at a time, boasting a consistent and impressive 95 percent effectiveness rating against pregnancies.

Currently, there are two primary types of IUDs: copper and hormonal, which are represented by their two brands, Paragard (Duramed Pharmaceuticals) and Mirena (Bayer Inc.), respectively.

Since the ‘70s, IUDs have been around when Americans were first introduced to the Dalkon Shield. Since the first generation of IUDs debuted on the market over 30 years ago, the negative public perception of the contraceptives has changed little. This negative reputation was rightly earned when the Dalkon Shield was found to be responsible for the numerous health problems encountered by women at the time. Most of the health complaints went so far as to include life threatening injuries and even infertility.

IUDs bad reputation has lingered in the minds of many, not just in the public, but among physicians as well. Even today, the prevailing practice among many physicians discourages prescribing IUDs to patients stemming from a fear of possible infertility and health risks. This negative attitude among doctors is considered antagonistic given the recent advances and medical research improving the devices safety. According to one study published earlier this year in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women of all ages could be prescribed on IUDs as part of a growing body of study for the improved safety of the implants.


Other studies have noted, however, that both types of IUDs have well-documented side effects. Legal controversy has hounded both over the years with many women claiming physical injury from using these implants and using them as a basis for warning others away from ever using IUDs.

The most prominent lawsuits associated with this new generation of IUDs are those involving Mirena. Mirena is manufactured by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer and first sold on the US market in 2000 after passing FDA approval. More and more plaintiffs have come forward over the years since Mirena was released citing the numerous serious side effects and Bayer’s failure to warn their customers are reasons for their lawsuits. To date, there are approximately 40,000 Mirena IUD cases against Bayer that have been consolidated into a single class action lawsuit, which will begin their first federal hearings later this year.

URL Reference:

theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/why-dont-we-just-put-iuds-in-the-water/274783/ articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-11/health/sc-health-0410-iuds-20130411_1_iud-use-paragard-pill


Dalkon Shields Legacy: An Abridged History of IUD safety in the US