Recent studies have found that patients who use the drug Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) are more likely to develop serious and potentially permanent vision loss. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals -- the manufacturers of Elmiron -- are facing several lawsuit by patients who developed an eye condition known as pigmentary maculopathy or other vision problems after taking this drug.
Elmiron is designed to treat a condition known as interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome. It is the only drug approved by the FDA to treat patients with this disease. Most of the 1 million U.S. patients who suffer from interstitial cystitis are women.
For years, it was believed that patients who were treated with Elmiron faced a minimal risk of developing serious side effects. However, concerns about the drug have increased in recent years, after a study found that patients who were prescribed Elmiron were developing problems with their eyesight.
According to researchers, the symptoms of eye damage that may be caused by Elmiron include problems with reading small text, decreased or dimming vision, paracentral scotoma, night vision problems, decreased field of vision, and difficulties with seeing close objects. Patients who used Elmiron and developed any of these symptoms of vision loss may be at risk of developing more serious problems with their eyesight, including blindness, retinal toxicity, and a condition known as pigmentary maculopathy.
Studies Link Elmiron to Increased Risk of Vision Loss and Eye Damage
In 2018, researchers at the Emory Eye Center published a study which found that Elmiron users were developing a type of eye damage called pigmentary maculopathy. Although pigmentary maculopathy can develop among patients who have never taken Elmiron, researchers found that the type of the disease that was being observed among Elmiron users had never been documented before.
Other eye doctors began taking a closer look at the potential side effects of Elmiron. In 2019, several opthamologists at Kaiser Permanente published another study after also observing cases of vision problems among patients taking Elmiron. These researchers found that patients who used the drug were more likely to develop retinal toxicity. More troublingly, the researchers also observed that the risk of developing eye damage among patients who used Elmiron increased the longer they had been treated with the drug and the more doses they had taken.
In a second study, the Kaiser Permanente revealed that 25% of patients who were treated with Elmiron developed eye damage. As with their first study, the researchers found that the risk of vision problems increased with higher doses and longer treatment periods: only 11% of patients who had taken 500-1,000 grams of the drug developed eye damage, compared to 42% of patients who had taken 1,500 grams of Elmiron or more.
Lawsuits Filed Over Eye Damage Linked to Elmiron
Following the publication of these studies, several patients who developed pigmentary maculopathy, retinal toxicity, or other vision problems after taking Elmiron filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of the drug, Janssen and J&J. These lawsuits alleged that the two drug companies failed to properly warn patients that they faced an increased risk of eye damage from taking Elmiron to treat their interstitial cystitis symptoms.
Documents uncovered in one Elmiron lawsuits filed against Janssen and J&J have revealed these companies may have known about the risk of eye damage linked to this drug for years. Yet despite allegedly knowing about the risk of side effects linked to Elmiron, the two pharmaceutical companies failed to disclose this information to doctors or patients.
If you or a loved one used Elmiron to treat interstitial cystitis and have been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, pigmentary maculopathy, eye damage, blindness, or other vision problems, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for your injuries. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced product liability attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a claim.
Elmiron Users Diagnosed With Pigmentary Maculopathy or Other Eye Damage May Qualify to File a Lawsuit
The prescription medication Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium), which is used to treat a condition known as interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) has been linked to an increased risk of serious, permanent eye damage. Patients who used Elmiron and have been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, retinal toxicity, vision loss, eye damage, blindness, or other eyesight problems may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Friend
David Friend focuses his practice on pharmaceutical and medical device litigation cases across the United States. His current practice includes cases involving Taxotere, Proton Pump Inhibitors (such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid), Xarelto and Onglyza. David's past work includes successfully resolving hundreds of cases involving birth defects from Paxil or Zoloft, the Kugel hernia patch, and PPH caused by the use of diet drugs, Guidant and Medtronic heart devices, Bextra and Celebrex, ReNu with MoistureLoc, AMO Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose, Zyprexa, and Seroquel. David served as a member of the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee in the Ortho Evra coordinated litigation in California.
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