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Lawsuits Link Elmiron To Eye Disorders

May 28, 2021
Colson Hicks Eidson

We have all seen the prescription drug commercials that end with a rapid-fire list of side effects that often seem to outweigh the benefits. Prescription drugs can be a tricky situation—helping certain parts of your body while hurting others. Occasionally, patients are not even aware of these side effects until it is too late.

This seems to be the case with Elmiron, a drug prescribed to treat bladder pain associated with interstitial cystitis, a chronic condition causing bladder discomfort. The drug prescribed to relieve this discomfort is creating new health issues with the patients’ eyes. Recent lawsuits claim pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS), commonly known by its brand name Elmiron, has caused maculopathy and other retinal disorders that can lead to blindness.

If you or a family member are experiencing eye problems after taking Elmiron, it is important to contact an experienced Elmiron attorney at Colson Hicks Eidson as soon as possible.

What exactly is maculopathy?

Maculopathy can be any pathological condition concerning the macula, the part of the retina associated with highly sensitive, accurate vision. Recent research presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2019 shows a link between Elmiron users and “clear signs” of irreversible vision damage.

In the case of prolonged usage of Elmiron, patients have shown:

  • Optic neuritis – inflammation causing damage to the optic nerve
  • Amblyopia – impaired or dim vision
  • Retinal hemorrhage – abnormal bleeding from the blood vessels of the retina

The most common symptoms associated with maculopathy include:

  • Difficulty with reading
  • Trouble adapting to dim lighting
  • Pain with eye movement
  • Temporary vision loss

How did this happen?

Elmiron, a product of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, was approved by the FDA in 1996. Since then, it has earned $150 million a year in sales.

“It’s unfortunate,” Dr. Robin A. Vora said in a 2020 American Academy of Ophthalmology news release. “You have a patient with a chronic condition like interstitial cystitis, for which there is no cure and no effective treatment. They get put on these medications because it’s thought to have few side effects and few risks, and no one thinks about it again. And year after year, the number of pills they’re taking goes up and up.”

Because this is the only drug approved to treat pain associated with interstitial cystitis, hundreds of thousands of people have regularly taken the drug. Because Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to put warnings or raise awareness of the dangerous side effects, many longtime users may have been exposed to the potential development of toxic maculopathy.

What should happen next?

Elmiron has still not been recalled by Janssen Pharmaceuticals or the FDA. If you or a loved one have been taking Elmiron or any form of Pentosan, and have experienced eye discomfort, you may be at risk for eye disease.

If you live in Miami, the pharmaceutical litigation attorneys of Colson Hicks Eidson are ready to step in on your behalf. Our knowledgeable and experienced team understands big cases like these, and we are not afraid of the army of legal teams associated with big pharmaceutical companies. Contact us for a free consultation or by calling us at 305-476-7400.