Certain hormonal birth control pills, IUDs and contraceptive implants have been linked to a medical condition called pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), that can cause all the symptoms of a brain tumor, including severe headaches, migraines, and blindness.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri literally means “false brain tumor”. Pseudotumor cerebri is a medical condition in which the pressure inside the skull is increased. The condition is also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and Benign Intracranial Hypertension.
When a person has a false brain tumor, the body begins producing cerebral spinal fluid at a rate that is faster than the body can reabsorb. This causes a buildup of fluids in the brain that puts pressure on the optic nerve causing migraines, blurred vision, and other symptoms. If the condition is not diagnosed and treated quickly, vision loss is irreversible and permanent.
What are the symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri may cause any of the following symptoms:
- Headache including migraines
- Blurred vision
- Buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Vision loss including permanent blindness
Pseudotumor cerebri and birth control
In 1995 the New England Journal of Medicine published a study suggesting a link between pseudotumor cerebri and optic disc edema in 56 women taking birth control containing the ingredient levonorgestrel. Subsequent studies have linked false brain tumors and other birth control hormones including extragenous estrogen (estrogen produced outside the body, as in birth control), progestin contraceptive implants, and birth control injections such as Depo-Provera.
What birth control methods are linked to Pseudotumor Cerebri?
- Beyaz oral contraceptive
- Depo-Provera injection
- Implanon implant
- Mirena IUD
- Nexplanon implant
- NuvaRing vaginal ring
- Ocella oral contraceptive
- Ortho-Evra patch
- Yaz oral contraceptive
Despite the knowledge of the potential risk of pseudotumor cerebri these products fail to adequately disclose the risk or advise women and doctors to remain vigilant for symptoms of a false brain tumor.
How is pseudotumor cerebri treated?
There are few known treatments for the condition. The patient is instructed to discontinue use of the hormonal birth control. There is a drug called Diamox (generic name acetazolamide), which has its own set of nasty side effects, but other than that the only way to relieve the pressure is by lumbar punctures or brain stents or surgical placements of shunts in the ventricle (VP shunt) or in the lumbar region (LP shunt) to relieve pressure by redirecting the cerebral fluid elsewhere. Unfortunately these treatments have a high failure rate and typically require multiple revision surgeries throughout the course of the patients lifetime.
What can you do?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri after using any form of hormonal birth control, you may have a claim for damages. Contact the defective drug lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story using our online contact form for a free and thorough evaluation of your legal rights.
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