Elmiron and Retinal Maculopathy
What many patients don’t realize is that taking Elmiron may increase their risk of other, life-changing medical conditions, such as retinal maculopathy, pigmentary maculopathy or macular retinopathy. Maculopathy is a general term used to describe any pathological condition affecting the macula, which is the functional center of the retina, the light, sensitive tissue that lines the inside of the eye. The macula is essential for everyday, accurate vision and is the part of the retina we use to see details, read and recognize a familiar face. Damage to the macula can cause serious eye disorders and may also lead to permanent blindness. From 1997 to 2019, the FDA received 100 reports of eye disorders occurring in patients taking Elmiron. Eight of the eye disorders were considered serious and 22 of the reports cited some form of maculopathy.
The form of maculopathy that has been linked to Elmiron treatment is identified as “pigmentary maculopathy of unknown etiology,” or a macular injury with no known cause. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that there is a known cause: Elmiron. In 2018, doctors from the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia reported six cases between 2015 and 2017 where female patients between the ages of 38 and 68 experienced a new eye disease with no apparent cause. The disease was classified as retinal maculopathy, meaning the pigment cells within the retina changed color, which can result in significant vision problems. After an exhaustive review of their medical history, the doctors found that all six patients were taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis. In 2019, the Emory Eye Center’s report was updated to include four additional patients who had taken Elmiron and experienced macular disease.