The Intrauterine Device: Still Misunderstood After All These Years

, Division of Maternal Health, Center for Maternal and Child Health, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore.

South Med J. 2000;93(9) 

In This Article

The Dalkon Shield

In 1971, the Dalkon Shield, developed by Hugh Davis, MD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was released. Because the Dalkon Shield's unique shape made it difficult to remove, a multifilament string was used to give it increased tensile strength during removal. Shortly after its release, reports of septic abortion and other infections reached a frantic level. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised the manufacturer of the Dalkon Shield, A. H. Robins, to withdraw it from the market in 1974. In 1983, the FDA advised all women currently using the Dalkon Shield to have the device removed. Litigation against A. H. Robins increased sharply. In 1985, A. H. Robins declared bankruptcy. The multifilament tail string, unique to the Dalkon Shield, most likely facilitated ascent of bacteria into the uterus, causing pelvic infections.[2]


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