Product liability lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women who were diagnosed with a severe neurological side effect called pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) after using hormonal contraceptives. PTC occurs when pressure inside the brain (intracranial pressure) increases to an unsafe level, and causes symptoms similar to that produced by a brain tumor. In fact, pseudotumor cerebri literally means “false brain tumor.”
What is ParaGard?
ParaGard is a T-shaped intrauterine device (IUD) that is inserted into a woman’s uterus for long-term protection against pregnancy. The plastic frame of the IUD is wrapped with coils that release copper into the lining of the uterus, which produces an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm. ParaGard is manufactured by Teva Women’s Health, Inc., and was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC)?
PTC is a rare neurological disorder in which intracranial pressure increases, causing headaches, vision problems and persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The condition is often misdiagnosed as a brain tumor, since the two share extremely similar symptoms.
What Causes PTC?
The exact cause of pseudotumor cerebri in many individuals is unknown, though it has been associated with hormonal birth control products. One hormone in particular, levonorgestrel, was linked to PTC in 1995. Levonorgestrel is a 2nd generation synthetic progestin, and is the most widely-prescribed contraceptive progestin in the world.
In addition to using hormone-based contraceptives, other factors that may increase your risk of developing pseudotumor cerebri may include:
- Vitamin A supplements
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Addison’s disease
- Lyme disease