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Case study: Problems with removing the contraception Norplant

MagazineSeptember 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 6)Case study: Problems with removing the contraception Norplant

When my husband and I decided not to have any more children, we agreed to have a Norplant fitted under the skin of my arm by my family doctor

When my husband and I decided not to have any more children, we agreed to have a Norplant fitted under the skin of my arm by my family doctor.

Once the Norplant rods were implanted, I suffered increasingly heavy periods, sometimes bleeding for up to 30 days, with only a four-day break. At one stage, my blood loss was so excessive that I fainted and had to be taken to hospital. The hospital's specialist recommended that the Norplant be removed immediately by my GP.But when my doctor tried to remove the Norplant, he couldn't find it. Soon after, a representative from Roussel, which manufactures the contraceptive (Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in the US), told my doctor that if he couldn't remove the Norplant, no one from the drug company could, either. Roussel told me that a Dr Walling in Boston been specially trained to remove the device. They asked him to travel to England to remove the implants, so that they could observe him.

At my doctor's surgery Dr Walling gave me a local anesthetic and managed to extract four of the capsules, but a fifth one broke and only half could be removed. The rest of the implants couldn't be found. By this time, I had four small incisions and a two-inch scar along my arm. Now it appears likely that I'm going to have to undergo major operation under general anesthetic to locate and remove the missing capsules, plus plastic surgery to minimize the scarring. And this is six months after doctors decided that I should have this contraception out immediately! Roussel's patient guide states: "Norplant can be removed at any time during the five years, just make an appointment with your doctor or clinic." J B, Nottingham (initials changed).....

If any other British women have problems with Norplant, Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickins Solicitors (Willoughby House, 20 Low Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 7EA) are handling multiple cases of litigation against Roussel.

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