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Taking Elmiron on a Regular Basis Can Lead to Vision Problems and Blindness

Posted on 20th September, 2020

by Legal Staff

Pentosan polysulfate sodium, sold under the brand name Elmiron, is a blood-thinning medication used in the treatment of the pain and discomfort caused by bladder inflammation, medically known as cystitis.

Over 1 million people in the United States struggle with interstitial cystitis, a bladder condition that mostly affects women.

Elmiron is the only medication available to treat the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

However, recent medical studies found that taking Elmiron on a regular basis may lead to vision problems and even blindness. According to research, up to 25% of the people who use Elmiron regularly for the management of the urinary pain associated with interstitial cystitis will develop vision problems or blindness.

Taking the drug for more than 6 months increases the risk of developing pigmentary maculopathy, a condition that may eventually result in severe vision problems or blindness. Consequently, the longer you take Elmiron, the more chances you have to end up struggling with vision problems or even blindness.

Despite the solid medical studies supporting the causal relationship between taking Elmiron regularly and vision problems, the medication is still on the market, as it has not been recalled yet. Furthermore, the manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has still not added a warning on the label of the medication about the serious side effects of taking this drug for too long.

What Is Pigmentary Maculopathy?

The macula is the part of the eye whose purpose is to process harp, clear, straight-ahead vision. When it damages as a result of taking Elmiron on a regular basis, pigmentary maculopathy develops, which is caused by the toxicity of the medication.

Thereby, it is a unique ocular disorder. It is worthy of note that pigmentary maculopathy produces changes to the pigmentation of the eye in people who develop it. Treatment with Elmiron was linked to pigmentary maculopathy in 2018, after a study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The research involved 140 people who had taken approximately 5,000 doses of Elmiron over a period of 15 years. Out of the 140 participants, 22 developed pigmentary maculopathy, which accounts for 25%. For this reason, ophthalmologists strongly advise people who undergo treatment with Elmiron to have their eyes examined annually, as they are at high risk of developing pigmentary maculopathy.

The symptoms of pigmentary maculopathy include:

  • night blindness
  • loss of close vision
  • blurry vision
  • seeing dark spots
  • visual dimming
  • difficulty reading

It is important to know that pigmentary maculopathy may eventually result in blindness. However, if treatment with Elmiron is ceased in a timely manner, people whose vision has been affected will only struggle with mild eye problems, as pigmentary maculopathy is irreversible.

In addition to pigmentary maculopathy, taking Elmiron for more than 6 months has also been correlated with retinal damage by a 2019 study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Three ophthalmologists conducted a review of patients at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and discovered that one-quarter of the participants with significant exposure to Elmiron developed eye damage.

Recovering Compensation for Vision Problems and Blindness Caused by Elmiron

If you developed a vision problem or blindness as a consequence of treatment with Elmiron, you have the legal right to seek compensation from the manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for your physical and emotional distress.

With over 35 years of professional experience, we will help you gather the necessary evidence and prepare your claim, which will eventually result in substantial financial compensation. For additional information, please contact us and we will gladly answer your questions.