NuvaRing and Blood Clots

NuvaRing, a contraceptive approved in 2001, is a flexible plastic-like ring that is inserted into the vagina and which releases a continuous dose of hormones into a women’s system to prevent ovulation. Since NuvaRing’s approval it has become one of the most popular birth control options for women due to the perceived freedom of not having to remember to take a daily pill.

But do NuvaRing’s benefits really outweigh it risks? According to a 2011 FDA study, NuvaRing was shown to be linked to higher risks for blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, and strokes. The FDA study also showed that NuvaRing raised the risk for blood clots by 56 percent compared to older versions of birth control pills. The FDA report was followed by a May 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal that found a relative risk of 6.5 for women on NuvaRing developing venous thrombosis. This means that women on NuvaRing are 6.5 times more likely to develop venous thrombosis than women who do not use NuvaRing, or any other type of hormonal contraceptives.

This news seems counterintuitive since one would think that NuvaRing’s lower dosage of hormones would actually decrease the threat for blood clots. However, the explanation for these increased dangers lies in the manner in which the hormones in NuvaRing are absorbed by the body. With oral contraceptives, up to half of the hormones are lost in the digestive track, whereas with NuvaRing, all of the hormones are absorbed directly into the blood. Due to NuvaRing’s potential serious risks, which can result in death, the current warning label certainly does not adequately warn patients of these risks. Further still, the belief that NuvaRing is a safer contraceptive due to the lower dose of hormones is one misconception that the manufacturer of NuvaRing, Merck, has not been quick to correct.

If you or a loved one has experienced problems resulting from the use of NuvaRing, please contact Pogust Braslow & Millrood for a free consultation to make sure that your rights are protected.