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NuvaRing Users Weigh Product Safety Following Large Settlement

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NuvaRing Users Weigh Safety of Product Following Settlement

The pharmaceutical giant, Merck, is set to pay $100 million in a settlement to NuvaRing users that said they were harmed as a result of using the product.  The women specifically argue that the NuvaRing is associated with an increased risk of life-threatening blood clots, and that users were not adequately warned of this potential danger.  The settlement money will be distributed between 3,800 women who used the NuvaRing who have filed lawsuits in federal and state courts.

Contraceptive Offers Convenience, But at a Price

The NuvaRing was approved by the FDA in 2001, and was touted as a more convenient alternative to other hormonal contraceptives such as the pill.  The NuvaRing is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and left for three weeks.  It is then removed at the beginning of the fourth week of a woman’s cycle, so she can have a period.  All hormonal birth control pills come with an increased risk of blood clot or stroke, but experts say that the NuvaRing may be even more dangerous in this respect because of the type of progestin used in the product to block ovulation and fertilization.  Specifically, one study found that women who used the NuvaRing were found to have a six-fold increase in the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) compared to women who used no contraceptive, and double the risk compared to women taking an oral contraceptive.

Despite Risks, Company Stands Behind Product

Although Merck has agreed to pay the settlement, a spokesperson for the company recently stated that this does not imply that they admit any wrongdoing and that NuvaRing is still a safe form of contraceptive.  Furthermore, the spokesperson also added that the company continues to monitor the safety of the product.  While an unplanned pregnancy is no joking matter, and hormonal contraceptives are an easy and convenient way to prevent this from occurring, the woman affected by NuvaRing will likely take a closer look at their use of the product in the future.