Elmiron Maker Faced with Vision Loss, Retinal Damage Lawsuits

The manufacturers of Elmiron, a drug prescribed as a treatment for a bladder condition called interstitial cystitis, face a growing number of lawsuits filed by former users who say that the medication caused them to suffer irreversible retinal damage and vision loss side effects. Product liability lawyers nationwide are currently investigating claims on behalf of long-term Elmiron users who have experienced these issues during or after treatment. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy or another eye disease that may have been misdiagnosed, do not hesitate to speak to an Elmiron vision impairment attorney about your legal options. Call Consumer Safety Watch today to find out how we can help.

Pigmentary Maculopathy Side Effects of Elmiron

Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) is a medication widely prescribed to treat interstitial cystitis (IC), a painful, chronic bladder condition that affects more than one million Americans, most of whom are women. Interstitial cystitis is characterized by chronic pain or discomfort in the bladder or pelvic region that can range from mild to severe. Although its exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, Elmiron is believed to relieve IC symptoms by coating the bladder and protecting it against potential irritants. However beneficial it may be in treating IC though, Elmiron has been tied to an increased risk of pigmentary maculopathy, a rare type of retinal damage that can lead to permanent vision damage or blindness. Some possible symptoms of pigmentary maculopathy associated with chronic exposure to Elmiron include the following:

  • Vision loss
  • Difficulty reading
  • Loss of night vision
  • Loss of vision detail
  • Vision distortion
  • Difficulty adapting to dim lighting or darkness
  • Dark spots in center of vision
  • Difficulty adjusting after exposure to bright light
  • Blind spot in the visual field
  • Difficulty seeing close objects

Manufacturer Adds Maculopathy Warning to Elmiron Label

For decades, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen have marketed Elmiron as a safe and effective treatment for IC with few known side effects. However, opinions about Elmiron’s safety profile changed abruptly between 2018 and 2019, when a series of scientific reports and case studies revealed that long-term Elmiron users across the country were presenting with similar vision problems. Researchers observing these Elmiron patients identified a novel eye disease we now know as Elmiron-associated pigmentary maculopathy, a specific type of maculopathy that affects the part of the retina responsible for central vision. Despite increasing evidence of a link between Elmiron and pigmentary maculopathy, it wasn’t until June 2020 that Janssen Pharmaceuticals was finally compelled to add a warning to the drug label about the possibility of prolonged Elmiron use causing permanent vision impairment or blindness.

What to do if You are Taking Elmiron

Elmiron has been on the market in the United States for more than 25 years and is considered a mainstay in the treatment of interstitial cystitis. In fact, Elmiron is the only oral medication currently approved for the treatment of IC. Unfortunately, since there is no cure for the bladder condition, Elmiron users often take the medication for years, which we now know could increase their risk of experiencing irreversible vision loss side effects that may persist even after treatment is discontinued. If you previously took or are currently taking Elmiron, it is recommended that you schedule an eye exam with an ophthalmologist right away to determine whether you may be at risk for pigmentary maculopathy side effects. Emerging evidence suggests that the link between Elmiron and pigmentary maculopathy is quite strong, a troubling finding considering the fact that there have been hundreds of thousands of patients exposed to the IC drug over the years, some of whom likely have Elmiron-related maculopathy and have yet to be diagnosed.

Contact an Elmiron Vision Loss Attorney for Legal Help

All Elmiron vision damage lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system have been consolidated for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Each Elmiron lawsuit raises similar claims that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary misled consumers and the medical community about the safety of Elmiron, and failed to warn about the importance of monitoring for vision changes like blurry or distorted vision or blindness during Elmiron treatment. U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti is presiding over the Elmiron multidistrict litigation (MDL) and the first bellwether trial is scheduled for later this month. To find out whether you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you allegedly sustained as a result of Elmiron side effects, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.

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