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The Dangers of Pentosan (Elmiron) Eye Disease

October 7, 2019
Colson Hicks Eidson

If you or someone you love has been taking Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium, commonly referred to by the brand name Elmiron, then you could be at serious risk of eye disease. The nationally-recognized firm Colson Hicks Eidson is now taking clients affected by Elmiron across the country. We have vast experience handling cases against major corporations and are ready to stand up for your rights. Our goal is to fully investigate your case and move to secure the compensation you deserve.

What is Elmiron used for?

Elmiron is the brand name for Pentosan, which is sodium pentosan polysulfate (PPS). This prescription medication is used to treat pain caused by interstitial cystitis, commonly known as “painful bladder syndrome.” This medication has also been prescribed for osteoarthritis in humans, as well as in elderly dogs and horses.

Elmiron was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat this disease in 1995 and has sales of more than $150 million a year.

What are the dangers of using Elmiron?

Recently, Elmiron has been linked to a retinal injury called maculopathy. In 2018, Dr. Nieraj Jain, a researcher at the Emory Eye Center at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, alerted the public that taking Elmiron is linked to this eye disease.

Maculopathy a term used to describe conditions that affect the macula, an area of the retina associated with “highly sensitive, accurate vision.” The form of macular degeneration attributed to taking Elmiron is called “pigmentary maculopathy of unknown etiology.”

While symptoms between patients vary, symptoms can include any or all of the following:

  • Parafoveal pigmented deposits: this occurs when the capillaries and small blood vessels around the macula become abnormal and can cause vision loss.
  • Vitelliform deposits: this occurs when round, yellowish lesions form underneath the macula. This is also known as adult pattern macular dystrophy.
  • Retinal pigment epithelium atrophy: this is a common symptom of age-related macular degeneration.

Are there other symptoms related to taking Elmiron?

Elmiron has also been linked to the following symptoms in patients:

  • Bruising
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Skin rash
  • Sleep disorders
  • Rectal bleeding

How can Elmiron be linked to this disease and not other medications?

Elmiron is linked to maculopathy because it is the only FDA-approved medication used to treat interstitial cystitis. Research has shown that retinal cells are accumulating a toxic substance from Pentosan over time.

How long do you have to take Elmiron before problems develop?

There is no direct link to the symptoms in patients taking Elmiron to the length of time they have been taking the medication. The study done by Dr. Jain at the Emory School of Medicine says that all patients in his study showed signs of retinal disease. The youngest person in the study was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) at the age of 23. Dr. Jain said that the patient began showing symptoms of vision problems by the age of 30.

What are the most common symptoms linked to Elmiron eye disease?

Emory researchers submitted a study to the American Urology Association Annual Meeting in May of 2019. They said that the most common symptoms they found in patients taking Elmiron included:

  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty adapting to dim lighting
  • Vision disturbances or distorted vision
  • Blindness
  • Trouble seeing things up close
  • Eye pain

Is the damage caused by Elmiron reversible?

It is recommended that anyone taking the prescription drug Elmiron undergo a full eye exam regardless of whether they have developed adverse symptoms or not. Remember, there are other symptoms listed above to be aware of that may mask themselves as unrelated to taking Elmiron.

Researchers suggest that the vision-threatening pigmentary maculopathy in these cases is likely irreversible, and vision loss not recoverable. They suggest that the other symptoms of taking Elmiron (hair loss, rectal bleeding) are reversible.

Why is an attorney needed for Elmiron eye disease cases?

If you have used Elmiron and have experienced the symptoms discussed here today, contact the team at Colson Hicks Eidson today. Cases involving prescription drugs can become incredibly complex. The other side is not going to readily accept that their product causes harm, even if they know that is the case.

Prescription drug companies should always be held accountable if they fail to warn patients about potential negative side effects of medication.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is the maker of Elmiron. How long have they known that their prescription drug can lead to severe eye disease? Have they disclosed this information to healthcare professionals so they can make an informed decision with their patients?

At Colson Hicks Eidson, our Elmiron attorneys will get to work investigating your case. We will ensure you are evaluated by a trusted healthcare professional. We will have your medical records examined by an expert medical witness who can properly assess whether your eye disease is linked to taking Elmiron.

While most individuals do not have the capability to take on large corporations by themselves, we have the experience and resources necessary to take on Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

We are ready to help

If you or a loved one have been affected by Elmiron or Pentosan, please contact Colson Hicks Eidson today. You are not alone in this fight. We have vast experience handling nationwide product liability cases like this, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. Our goal is to secure the compensation you need if you’ve been affected by Elmiron. This includes:

  • The cost of your current and future medical bills
  • Recovery of income lost if you are unable to work
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Mental anguish damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Punitive damages against a company or manufacturer

You did not deserve this. When you need an Elmiron eye disease attorney, you can contact us by clicking here or by calling us at 305-476-7442. We want to offer a free case evaluation, and we would be honored to speak with you. Our compassionate team is standing by.