Local News

Raleigh Woman Worries About Norplant's Long-Term Effects

Posted September 1, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The maker of the contraceptive Norplant has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits filed by women who complained of severe side effects.American Home Productsstill insists Norplant is safe. But at least one local woman is not convinced.

Sherald Thompson, 38, is feeling better now that her Norplant contraceptive device has been removed her arm.

For the past six years, she says Norplant made her feel awful. Her menstrual periods lasted three weeks at a time. She also had "weight loss, numbness in my legs and in my left arm, headaches, severe abdominal cramps."

Thompson says she was never warned about the side effects.

American Home Products recently offered to pay $1,500 each to 36,000 women who sued the company for the same kind of problems. But in a statement, the company defends itself saying "the Norplant System has been a valuable contraceptive option for more than a million American women." It also says the side effects are described in the product's labeling.

Thompson says she never would have agreed to Norplant had she known the side effects were so severe.

Now she worries about the long-term effects. "What about the future?" she wonders. "We don't know what type of side effects this will have in our future. Are there cancer-causing agents? I mean, it's scary."

TheFDAsays Norplant is safe and effective. Ask your doctor about the potential side effects of any drug before you start taking it.