Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary face yet another Elmiron lawsuit alleging that the drug makers failed to properly warn patients about the potential risk of irreversible vision problems associated with the widely used interstitial cystitis drug. According to allegations raised in the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on May 11, the plaintiff, Rebecca Gassman, suffered permanent vision loss and eye damage as a result of taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis. If you or someone you love has suffered irreversible vision loss from pigmentary maculopathy and you believe Elmiron to be the cause, contact a reputable drug injury attorney today to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages, which you can pursue by filing an Elmiron vision loss lawsuit.
Elmiron is a prescription medication approved to treat bladder pain associated with a condition called interstitial cystitis. Interstitial cystitis (IC), also called painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic bladder condition that can cause severe symptoms like recurring bladder and pelvic pain or pressure and urinary frequency and urgency. To relieve the bladder pain and discomfort associated with interstitial cystitis, many people take Elmiron, which happens to be the only oral medication that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of interstitial cystitis. The active ingredient in Elmiron is pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS) and the drug is thought to work by restoring the surface of the bladder and protecting it from irritating substances in urine. Unfortunately, PPS has also been linked to a vision-threatening eye condition known as pigmentary maculopathy or retinal maculopathy.
Maculopathy is a general term used to describe any condition or disease affecting the macula, the small spot in the retina that provides humans with central vision. Age-related macular degeneration is a common form of degenerative maculopathy that can blur the sharp, central vision required for activities like driving and reading and can get worse over time. In fact, macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss, more than glaucoma and cataracts combined, which is why many patients taking Elmiron are initially misdiagnosed with macular degeneration. Information about the potential connection between Elmiron and pigmentary maculopathy is limited, so Elmiron users experiencing progressive vision loss often continue taking the bladder pain medication, completely unaware that it may be causing their eye problems.
According to Rebecca Gassman’s new Elmiron lawsuit, she began taking Elmiron in about 2010 as a treatment for interstitial cystitis and bladder pain. After taking the medication for nearly a decade, Gassman began experiencing vision problems. In March 2020, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration, permanent retinal injury and vision loss. The complaint states that Gassman’s injuries occurred as a result of the toxic effect of Elmiron on the retina, which can result in progressive vision loss that cannot be reversed. Some common symptoms of pigmentary maculopathy that Elmiron users should be aware of include worsening vision loss, difficulty reading, dark spots in the vision, a loss of night vision, difficulty adjusting to dim lighting and vision distortion.
Since 1996, Elmiron has been marketed by J&J and Janssen as a safe and effective treatment for interstitial cystitis. Only recently were Elmiron users made aware of the fact that they could be at risk for a type of retinal disease known as pigmentary maculopathy, thanks to a growing body of research analyzing the potential adverse effects of Elmiron treatment. “Defendants ignored reports from patients and health care providers throughout the United States of Elmiron’s failure to perform as intended, and injuries associated with long term use which led to the severe and debilitating injuries suffered by Plaintiff, and numerous other patients,” Gassman’s Elmiron lawsuit states. “Rather than doing adequate testing to determine the cause of these injuries or rule out Elmiron’s design as the cause of the injuries, Defendants continued to market Elmiron as a safe and effective prescription drug for interstitial cystitis.”
Interstitial cystitis is a common bladder condition affecting millions of people in the United States. And being that Elmiron is the only oral medication approved to treat the condition, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to the drug. A growing number of Elmiron vision loss lawsuits have been brought against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in recent months, alleging, among other things, that the drug makers failed to adequately research the long-term effects of Elmiron treatment or warn patients about the potential for Elmiron to cause permanent vision problems. If you have been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, retinal maculopathy, macular degeneration or retinal degeneration and you are taking or previously took the bladder pain drug Elmiron, contact a knowledgeable product liability lawyer today to explore your possible compensation options.