A recent article in Vanity Fair outlining the dangers of NuvaRing has brought renewed attention to the potentially lethal contraceptive.
The contraceptive manufactured by Merck, was first introduced in Europe in 2001 and approved by the FDA shortly thereafter. It is now the most widely used non-pill contraceptive in the world, and used by more than one million women in the United States. Lawsuits filed against Merck & Co. (formerly Schering-Plough, formerly Organon), allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the potential for blood clots and other side effects. Roughly 3,500 lawsuits have been filed against the company because of serious side effects, including deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in a deep vein which can travel through the system to the lungs, causing damage to vital organs and death.
A 2011 USDA study, which looked at more than 800,000 women, found a 56 percent increase in the danger of blood clots from this type of vaginal ring versus contraceptives utilizing an older form of estrogen. A 2012 Danish study found women to be six times more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis when using the vaginal ring than women who did not use a hormonal contraceptive at all.
Early clinical trials indicated this link with blood clots, yet labeling and marketing by the company seems to have obscured these dangers. Thousands of cases are currently being settled by plaintiffs stricken with blood clots by similar hormonal contraception products like Yaz or Yasmin. It is expected that NuvaRing will follow the same fate.