Ring Around the Thrombosis: Study Finds NuvaRing Increases Blood Clot Risk

To many women, the NuvaRing, a contraceptive vaginal ring that lasts for several weeks, may seem like the perfect no-hassle birth control. However, recent research shows that convenience may come at a hefty price.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, women who use the NuvaRing face nearly twice the risk of serious blood clots of women taking low-dose oral contraceptives and six times the risk of those using non-hormonal birth control.

Venous thromboembolism, or VTE, occurs when a blood clot forms in a person's vein. It commonly takes the form of deep vein thrombosis, which affects deep veins like those in the leg, or pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening complication in which the blood clot becomes lodged in the lungs. These blood clots can cause a wide range of health problems, ranging from pain and swelling to heart attack, stroke and respiratory failure.

The NuvaRing is at the heart of hundreds of product liability lawsuits against its manufacturer, Merck & Co. Representatives for the company have downplayed the study's findings, arguing that the ring is safe and the study did not consider other risk factors like family history, lifestyle factors and previous contraception use.

Concerns over dangerous contraceptives are nothing new. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson settled hundreds of suits over Ortho Evra, its birth control patch. The plaintiffs in these cases had suffered blood clots, heart attacks or strokes after using the patch. Combined oral contraceptives, particularly Yaz and Yasmin, have also come under fire for increasing women's risk of blood clots and other life-threatening side effects.

Choosing the right contraceptive can be difficult; each one has its own risks, side effects and level of effectiveness. It is essential to consult with your physician before beginning any birth control regimen to choose the right method for you and minimize your chances of adverse effects or injury.

If you or a loved one have been harmed after using NuvaRing or other hormone-based birth control, an attorney with experience in dangerous pharmaceutical matters can help.