Erika was twenty-four, an avid traveller, and a graduate of American University. She also used the NuvaRing, manufactured by Merck, which is a form of birth control used by tens of millions of American women today.
In November 2011 she collapsed in her apartment in Arlington, Virginia and began screaming for help. The front desk attendant called 911 and the paramedics discovered Erika had had a heart attack. She had two more heart attacks on the way to the hospital and had another heart attack once she had arrived at the hospital. That is where she died.
But there’s one thing a doctor said that her parents, pictured below, remembered. “He said well there’s a link between NuvaRing and pulmonary embolisms,” Karen Langhart said.
NuvaRing has a history of being linked to blood clots in women. As a result of lawsuits, Merck paid out $100 million in 2014 to the survivors of those who believe their loved ones died as a result of complications caused by NuvaRing, although Merck admitted no fault.
The possible complications and side effects of NuvaRing are also well known and seemingly endless but it’s also known that they can cause adverse vascular problems and contribute to the release of blood clots which can cause strokes and heart attacks.
And while the chemistry certainly isn’t simple, Erika’s family believes that Merck is getting away with selling something that is both dangerous and poorly understood by the women who use NuvaRing. Even Merck acknowledges that there is a link between NuvaRing and blood clots/vascular problems.
Even though NuvaRing is generally considered to be safe, it’s still twice as likely to cause blood clots as previous forms of hormonal birth control. It may be extremely convenient but it appears to have also contributed to the deaths and near deaths of some women as well.