Lawsuits Link Elmiron Bladder Medication to Irreversible Vision Damage

A new product liability lawsuit filed against the makers of Elmiron alleges that side effects of the interstitial cystitis medication caused an Ohio woman to suffer irreversible vision loss and retina damage. Elmiron has been named in an increasing number of lawsuits filed in courts across the country, seeking compensation on behalf of former users who have experienced severe vision problems allegedly caused by the interstitial cystitis treatment. If you or someone in your family took the bladder drug Elmiron and subsequently suffered permanent vision loss, blurred vision, difficulty adjusting to dim light, difficulty reading or another serious vision problem, contact us today to find out if you are eligible to file an Elmiron claim against Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary.

Potential Risks of Elmiron Treatment

Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium or PPS) is an oral medication approved to relieve bladder pain and discomfort associated with interstitial cystitis. Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that causes increased bladder pressure, bladder pain or even pelvic pain that can sometimes be severe. Janssen Pharmaceuticals introduced Elmiron in the United States in 1996, marketing it as a safe and effective treatment for interstitial cystitis, which affects more than one million Americans. There is no cure for interstitial cystitis and Elmiron is the only oral medication approved to treat the bladder condition. As a result, Elmiron has been used long-term by thousands of individuals nationwide. Unfortunately, because the makers of Elmiron did not provide any warnings that the bladder medication may cause serious and potentially irreversible retina damage among users, many Elmiron users are unaware of the risks associated with the treatment.

Janssen Issues Elmiron Pigmentary Maculopathy Warning

In June 2020, after a series of scientific studies and case reports identified a link between Elmiron treatment and a unique eye disorder called pigmentary maculopathy or retinal maculopathy, Janssen announced an Elmiron label update warning about the potential risk of vision problems in Elmiron users. “Pigmentary changes in the retina, reported in the literature as pigmentary maculopathy, have been identified with long-term use of Elmiron,” the new warning label states. “Although most of these cases occurred after 3 years of use or longer, cases have been seen with a shorter duration of use.” According to the Elmiron warning, the visual symptoms reported in connection with Elmiron treatment include difficulty reading, blurred vision and slow adjustment to low or reduced light environments.”

Elmiron Vision Loss Lawsuits

Since issuing the new warning about its interstitial cystitis drug, Janssen has faced a growing number of Elmiron vision loss lawsuits being pursued across the United States by former users. The lawsuits each involve similar allegations that the drug maker knew long before introducing the Elmiron label changes that side effects of the drug could affect users’ vision, but deliberately withheld warnings from consumers and the medical community. This latest Elmiron lawsuit was filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by plaintiff Velma Lehmann, who was prescribed and took Elmiron from July 2009 through May 2020. In her complaint, Lehmann indicates that Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to provide Elmiron users with proper warnings about the potential for Elmiron to cause retina damage and vision loss.

As a result of her Elmiron treatment, Lehmann alleges that she suffered “severe and permanent personal injuries, including but not limited to retinal pigmentary changes, vision changes and potentially irreversible vision damage.” She also alleges that she and other Elmiron users could have avoided suffering permanent retinal damage and vision loss or other eye problems had Janssen provided warnings about the potential side effects of Elmiron treatment earlier. “Plaintiff Velma Lehmann would not have used Elmiron had Defendants properly disclosed the risks associated with the drug,” the complaint states. “Thus, had Defendants properly disclosed the risks associated with Elmiron, Plaintiff Velma Lehmann would have avoided the risk of developing the injuries complained of herein by not ingesting Elmiron.”

Elmiron Vision Injuries May be Irreversible

In light of the potential for Elmiron to cause permanent vision changes in users, Janssen is advising urologists to obtain a detailed ophthalmologic history for all patients prior to initiating Elmiron treatment and conduct a baseline retinal examination within six months of beginning treatment and periodically during the course of treatment. “If pigmentary changes in the retina develop, then risks and benefits of continuing treatment should be re-evaluated, since these changes may be irreversible,” the Elmiron warning label states. “Follow-up retinal examinations should be continued given that retinal and vision changes may progress even after cessation of treatment.” In her Elmiron lawsuit, Lehmann claims that her “ingestion of the defective and unreasonably dangerous drug Elmiron” has caused and will continue to cause her injury and damage.

Seeking Compensation for Alleged Elmiron Vision Injuries

Because many ophthalmologists were unaware of the potential link between Elmiron use and maculopathy, many users were misdiagnosed with macular degeneration and other eye disorders and continued taking Elmiron, unaware that it was causing their vision problems. Sadly, the alleged side effects of Elmiron are irreversible and may continue to progress long after the treatment is discontinued. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy and you believe Elmiron to be the cause, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable Elmiron injury attorney. With a qualified product liability lawyer on your side, you can determine whether you are eligible for compensation for your alleged Elmiron injuries, which you can pursue by filing an Elmiron lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals.