Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, the maker of the drug Elmiron, which has been shown to result in vision loss and other eye damage has changed the label on the drugs packaging. Facing potentially thousands of lawsuits and claims for damages by plaintiffs suffering maculopathy, blindness, and other eye issues after long term Elmiron usage, the drugmaker has added a new warning label which now includes “pigment changes in the retina of the eye (also referred to as pigmentary maculopathy in medical journal articles) have been reported with long-term use of ELMIRON”. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the label change in June of 2020.
Elmiron is a drug that has been prescribed for years to treat interstitial cystitis. It is estimated around 12 million people in the United States are affected by the painful condition with women being a significant majority. The condition often includes bladder pain and urinary issues. As scientific journals and researchers continue studying Elmiron’s effect on vision loss, the link between the medication and eye damage is becoming clearer. The most current research suggests up to 25% of long term Elmiron users with significant exposure will suffer some sort of eye damage or vision loss.
The retina is the light sensing tissue at the back of the eye that allows us to see. After reports that
pentosan polysulfate sodium may be associated with retinal damage, ophthalmologists reviewed patients taking Elmiron at Kaiser Permanente in California. What they found was one quarter of the patients showed definite signs of eye damage. Researchers found 140 patients who had taken an average of 5000 pills over the course of 15 years. Of the 140 patients, 91 had their retinas examined. 22 percent of the patients examined exhibited Elmiron drug toxicity. Unfortunately, with a medication like Elmiron used to treat a chronic condition, many of the people taking it have been prescribed and taken the medication for years or decades, significantly increasing the chance that Elmiron toxicity of the retina is occurring and resulting in vision loss or retina problems.
If you took Elmiron for multiple years, contact your doctor to discuss your concerns and determine whether you should continue taking Elmiron. You should also get an eye exam to determine whether you have suffered any vision loss and have an eye exam performed annually while on the medication. Your eye doctor needs to conduct a clinical examination including detailed examination of the macula and retina. The eye examination needs to include fundus photography with auto fluorescence to determine if there are abnormalities within the retina.
Lawsuits are currently being filed nationwide. Plaintiffs are currently suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals for damages because the drug maker failed to warn Elmiron users of vision loss, maculopathy, and other eye problems associated with long term Elmiron use. The recent warning label update by the company reflects current research indicating Elmiron is causing eye damage. If you or a loved one suffer from bladder pain syndrome or interstitial cystitis and were prescribed Elmiron and have now suffered retina problems, vision loss, blindness, or other eye damage symptoms, contact the drug attorneys at the Willis Law Firm today.