You may have heard that a drug taken to ease urinary and bladder pain also known as interstitial cystitis can cause vision problems as a harmful side effect. But is this true? Can a bladder pain medication called Elmiron cause a progressive eye disease which then can lead to loss of vision or even blindness?
Tragically, it can — as many Americans are learning. But these Americans now have a chance to fight back.
They can do so with an Elmiron blindness lawsuit filed by Elmiron attorneys provided by the Willis Law Firm. Such an Elmiron lawsuit can claim significant payments for injury losses, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
What is progressive eye disease?
There are a number of types of progressive eye disease. One of them is maculopathy. In fact, maculopathy is the most common cause of blindness, since it can damage a part of the retina known as the macula.
Maculopathy also is a possible harmful side effect of Elmiron. And there’s a type of maculopathy which is particularly associated with Elmiron. That kind of maculopathy is known as pigmentary maculopathy.
How Does Elmiron Injure the Eyes?
As for how Elmiron can injure the eyes, the 100 mg prescription capsules — used for decades by hundreds of thousands of people — have an active ingredient known as pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS).
That ingredient functions like a blood thinner, or anticoagulant, by helping to prevent the formation of blood clots. But it’s also used to treat the bladder pain, pressure and discomfort caused by interstitial cystitis, when the bladder is inflamed or irritated.
Even though such treatment can be successful in easing bladder pain, the active ingredient in Elmiron also can be toxic to the retina, the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye. And eventually — especially after prolonged use — Elmiron can cause blindness.
Studies Prove Elmiron Can Cause Vision Loss
Studies of Elmiron’s harmful side effects include one by ophthalmologists at the Oakland, CA offices of Kaiser Permanente, an American integrated managed care consortium which provides healthcare in eight regions.
Those researchers examined a database of 4.3 million patients at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.
Released in 2018, their findings identified 140 patients who had taken an average of 5,000 pills each over 15 years. Of those patients, 91 agreed to an exam, and in that exam the researchers took detailed images of the rear area of their eyes.
Of those 91 patients, 22 showed clear signs of retinal toxicity after taking bladder pain medication Elmiron. In fact, the rate of toxicity increased along with the higher the level of Elmiron being taken. Persons who took 1,500 grams or more had toxicity in 42 percent of cases.
Overall, about one-fourth of patients who’d taken large accumulated amounts of Elmiron showed clear signs of eye damage. That is an extremely high risk group for any defective drug.
In another study exploring the link between Elmiron exposure and development of pigmentary maculopathy, the British Journal of Ophthalmology reported that patients with long-term use of pentosan polysulfate sodium, or PPS, used in Elmiron, faced a higher danger of the condition.
That study assessed patients who took Elmiron for more than 10 years, checking in at the five-year and seven-year marks. The study revealed that patients had the highest rate of new maculopathy diagnosis during the seventh-year evaluation.
Another study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology researched patient records for more than 15 years. It found that about two-thirds of patients reported trouble reading.
These patients were evaluated for vision changes and macular dystrophy, which is a deterioration of the retina. The research found that exposure to Elmiron altered the structure of the retinal pigment mechanism.
Elmiron Is to Blame for Vision Problems
No other bladder pain drugs can be blamed for this, since no others exist. In fact, Elmiron is the sole drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ease the chronic bladder and pelvis pain condition known as interstitial cystitis.
Science Daily reports that this condition is suffered by over one million Americans, and most of them are female. Other than Elmiron, there is no treatment for interstitial cystitis, which also has no cure.
How Much Elmiron is Too Much?
You may be asking how much Elmiron is too much. Scientists aren’t sure. Yet physicians do say that even patients who show no signs of toxicity while taking Elmiron for bladder pain should get at least one screening each year to check for retinal damage.
Then, if an eye exam shows any retinal damage, patients are advised to consult their urologist or obstetrician/gynecologist (ob/gyn) about discontinuing their use of Elmiron — even though there is no alternative drug for it.
Such cessation of Elmiron use may be necessary to prevent the even worse injury of blindness.
Thankfully, if retinal damage is detected early enough among Elmiron users, the damage may be limited by ceasing use of the drug, researchers say. But for many Americans, it already may be too late.
‘How Do I Get an Elmiron Blindness Lawsuit?’
Now you may be asking how you can get an Elmiron blindness lawsuit to seek payments — and justice — for vision loss or blindness suffered by you or a loved one after taking Elmiron. And we have the answer.
You can start simply by contacting us at the Willis Law Firm. We can help you to size up your chances for a successful Elmiron blindness lawsuit with a legal evaluation we’ll provide you for free and at no obligation. Then, if you decide you want to proceed with a lawsuit to recover financially after an Elmiron blindness injury, we can provide you with the Elmiron attorneys or defective drug lawyers you need to handle your case.
So now you know: Can Elmiron cause loss of vision and blindness? Yes, it can. And can you claim financial compensation for your injury losses? Yes, you can. To do so, contact us at the Willis Law Firm for a free legal review of your case. Find out what rights you may have for legal damages in a Elmiron vision loss lawsuit.