Protesters at Moscone Center demand Essure be taken off the market

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Protesters at Moscone Center demand of Essure be taken off the market
Protesters rallied outside of Moscone Center during a convention for obstetricians and demanded a contraceptive implant called Essure be taken off the market because it has caused injury to some women.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dozens of women rallied outside San Francisco's Moscone Center where obstetricians were attending a convention. The protesters were targeting the contraceptive implant called Essure that's caused some women injury and they are demanding it be taken off the market.

The majority of the women protesting Monday once had the contraceptive implant called Essure, but had it removed after complaining of a number of side effects.

"After I got implanted, I contacted my doctor and said something is wrong," one protester said.

"It turned into a daily stabbing pain and it turned into chronic fatigue and joint pain and migraines," said Tiffany Fenimore, a mother of four children.

The device is a small metal and polyester coil placed into a woman's fallopian tubes. It is non-surgical and that's why it's been so popular. The body reacts to the device by triggering an inflammatory response, this causes scar tissue to form which then prevents anything from entering the fallopian tubes.

"It works too well sometimes. It causes a chronic inflammatory response in the tubes, which causes pain, pain in intercourse, irregular bleeding," said doctor Julio Novoa.

Novoa has been opposed to the use of the device after serious side effects were reported during the clinical trials. The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002. Bayer purchased the company in 2013 and has seen the complaints of thousands of women.

"At Bayer, we support the product extensively," said Edio Zampaglioni, a spokesperson for Womens Healthcare Bayer Pharmaceutical. "We believe we're doing everything we can to offer support to health care provider and patients themselves."

"I actually was taking birth control pills and had a blood clot and could not stand hormones, so I needed some sort of contraceptive," said Katie MacFarlane. "The Essure just seemed the easiest and I've had it for five years and not a single problem."

In about four percent of women, the device has moved into the pelvic area and that is of concern to the FDA.

Bayer says women should seek out only doctors who have a lot of experience using this device. Essure continues to receive a lot of criticism from women who claim to be injured.