ParaGard Warnings and Precautions
Do not use ParaGard without updating your healthcare provider on any medical issues you have had, including problems with a pelvic infection, unexplained vaginal bleeding, or an ectopic pregnancy. There are specific safety precautions for ParaGard, including warnings of infections or perforations occurring in some cases. Also, this contraceptive should not be used by women who have Wilson's disease or cervical cancer.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using ParaGard® (the copper IUD) if you have:
- A history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Had a serious pelvic infection
- Uterine cancer or cervical cancer
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Had an ectopic pregnancy (a "tubal" pregnancy) or are at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy
- An intrauterine device (IUD) still in place
- An abnormally shaped uterus or uterine fibroids
- Any allergies, including to medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have recently had a baby.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings for ParaGardSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this contraceptive include the following:
- Although pregnancy is quite rare in women using ParaGard, pregnancies that occur with an IUD in place are more likely to be ectopic (occur outside the uterus). These pregnancies cannot survive, often require surgery, and can result in permanent damage that can lead to infertility. Be watchful for any signs of ectopic pregnancy, such as severe abdominal (stomach) pain accompanied by unusual vaginal bleeding. You should not use ParaGard if you have ever had an ectopic pregnancy or if your healthcare provider feels that you are at risk for an ectopic pregnancy.
- For pregnancies that are not ectopic (otherwise normal pregnancies within the uterus), problems can occur. Leaving ParaGard in place increases the risk for miscarriages, premature birth, and severe infection. Removal of ParaGard is recommended, but this can also result in a miscarriage (see ParaGard and Pregnancy for more information).
- In rare cases, the insertion of ParaGard can cause a serious infection. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you develop severe pain within hours after the insertion of ParaGard, as immediate treatment is essential.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as ParaGard, may increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a condition that can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancies and infertility.
- It is common and normal for ParaGard to cause heavier and longer periods, especially for the first few months. In some cases, bleeding may be severe enough or bothersome enough to require removal of ParaGard.
- It is possible for ParaGard to become embedded in the uterus. This can make it more difficult to remove. Sometimes, surgical removal might be required.
- It is possible for ParaGard to perforate the uterus. This usually happens during insertion. It can be severe enough to require surgery and can cause serious problems. The risk of perforation is higher if ParaGard is inserted during the first month after childbirth; instead, it should be inserted either immediately after delivery or more than a month after birth.
- ParaGard can accidentally come out. This usually happens within the first few months. If this goes unnoticed, unintentional pregnancy may occur. It is a good idea to check to make sure it is in place (by feeling for the threads) at least once a month.
- You should not use ParaGard if you have Wilson's disease, a rare genetic condition that affects copper excretion in the body.
- Little is known about possible drug interactions with ParaGard (see ParaGard Drug Interactions).
- ParaGard can be used in women who are breastfeeding (see ParaGard and Breastfeeding).