We are coming up on the one-year mark since the new “retinal pigmentary changes” warning was added to the Elmiron drug label, and already, there are more than 200 lawsuits pending in state and federal courts nationwide over retinal maculopathy problems allegedly caused by the popular bladder medication. Elmiron, also known as pentosan polysulfate sodium or PPS, is approved to treat a painful bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis (IC) and has been linked to permanent vision loss, difficulty reading, difficulty adjusting to dim lighting, and other debilitating vision problems. If you or someone you love has experienced vision loss or any other vision problems after taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis, you may have grounds to file an Elmiron lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals. We would be happy to speak to you about your claim and help you understand whether you may be eligible for compensation for your retinal maculopathy injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Elmiron is the only oral medication specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of interstitial cystitis, and since there is no cure for the condition, Elmiron users typically continue taking the bladder medication for years to manage their symptoms. However, we now know that taking Elmiron long-term could put users at risk for irreversible vision loss, difficulty adapting to dim lighting or darkness, and even complete blindness. This so-called Elmiron toxicity was first described in 2018 as a “novel and possibly avoidable maculopathy associated with chronic exposure to PPS,” which study authors cautioned warranted further investigation. According to a March 2021 article titled “Update on maculopathy secondary to pentosan polysulfate toxicity,” an estimated 20% of patients with long-term exposure to Elmiron may suffer vision problems characteristic of toxic maculopathy. In another study published in the medical journal Clinical Ophthalmology in February 2021, researchers identified a “distinct clinical constellation” of retinal maculopathy associated with exposure to Elmiron, which they determined “can be accurately identified with multimodal imaging.”
Elmiron lawsuits filed in courts across the country allege that Janssen Pharmaceuticals was aware of reports tying Elmiron treatment to vision loss and retinal deterioration, yet avoided providing users with any warnings about these potential health risks until last year. In June 2020, Elmiron users and their doctors were notified for the first time that long-term exposure to the IC medication may cause “pigmentary changes in the retina, reported in the literature as pigmentary maculopathy.” The Elmiron drug label was updated at that time to include warnings about visual symptoms associated with long-term Elmiron use, including difficulty reading, blurred vision, and slow adjustment to low or reduced light environments. According to the revised label, most of the Elmiron-related vision problems have occurred after three years of use or longer, although there have been reports of side effects in patients who took Elmiron for a shorter period of time.
In December, all Elmiron lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide were centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey before District Judge Brian R. Martinotti for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). As of March 15, 2021, the latest date for which MDL information is available on the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) website, there were 213 claims pending in the Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) Products Liability Litigation. Just five days prior, the court reported that there were 196 total filed cases alleging side effects related to the use of Elmiron, including 171 federal cases and 25 cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania state courts.
As more information about the potential vision loss side effects of Elmiron use emerges and product liability lawyers continue to investigate claims on behalf of former users of the interstitial cystitis drug, the number of Elmiron retinal maculopathy lawsuits is expected to continue to grow in the coming weeks and months. Contact Consumer Safety Watch today for more information about possibly filing an Elmiron vision loss claim for damages.