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Caveat-laden, the copper IUD returns.

Caveat-laden, the copper IUD returns

In early 1988--two years after the last copper intrauterine device (IUD) was sold in the United States--the birth control method will make a commercial comeback. But physicians recommending the new IUD must provide manufacturers with written statements that they understand any questions or concerns associated with the device.

Although IUDs as a group have received bad publicity in recent years, more than 60 million women worldwide use them, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A WHO-appointed panel of reproduction experts, formed in response to safety concerns, has just released its report on copper- and hormone-releasing IUDs. The devices were judged to be safe and "probably the most effective and reliable reversible method of fertility regulation available to women.' In a statement from the health agency, the panel also concludes that the IUD apparently prevents fertilization of the egg by sperm, rather than preventing the uterine implantation of an already fertilized egg. This is contrary to what is generally thought, and the panel suggests it may resolve some religious and personal objections voiced against using IUDs.

Litigation over infertility associated with the plastic Dalkon Shield IUD had led U.S. manufacturers to discontinue their production of all copper IUDs; the Copper 7 and Tatum T types were pulled from market shelves in January 1986.

But GynoMed Pharmaceutical Inc. of Somerville, N.J., has agreed to market the Copper T 380A, developed by The Population Council, an international, nonprofit research group based in New York.

In announcing the agreement late last month, council officials said that about 5 million of the IUDs have been used in other countries. Despite Food and Drug Administration approval in 1984, however, fear of lawsuits kept companies from selling the product in the United States. Package inserts with the new IUD will explain in detail possible risks and cases in which the device should not be used.
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Title Annotation:intrauterine device
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 14, 1987
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