Elmiron Toxicity in the Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis Leads to Vision Loss

Elmiron Toxicity in the Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis Leads to Vision Loss

An estimated 4 million to 12 million Americans suffer from interstitial cystitis.  This condition is also known as painful bladder syndrome.  Since 1996, the only FDA approved medicine available for the treatment of painful bladder syndrome has been Elmiron.  At any given time, hundreds of thousands of people in America are using Elmiron.  Because the condition of interstitial cystitis is chronic, many people take the drug for years on end.

There is no cure for painful bladder syndrome.  Elmiron only helps to alleviate symptoms.  It is common for patients to be prescribed this drug for 5 years, 10 years and longer. Recently, reliable published scientific studies have linked the long-term use of Elmiron with damage to the retina in the eye.  The first published studies linked Elmiron to damage to the eye’s retina in 2018. In October 2019, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warned that Elmiron was a poison to the retina.  The retina is located in the rear of the eye. It senses light and allows us to see objects with clarity.  A published study of Kaiser Permanente patients in California confirmed that up to one-fourth of long-term users of Elmiron had a unique type of damage to the eye.  They found a dark spot on the macula, part of the retina.  The condition was not previously identified before Elmiron users were studied. Researchers warn that many people may have been misdiagnosed with other vision conditions when, in fact, the harm was caused by Elmiron toxicity to the macula.

Researchers now recommend that people who have taken Elmiron for a period of years should have annual checkups with their ophthalmologist.  Specifically, they should be screened for damage to their retina.  The test is non-invasive and can be done at a routine visit. Anyone who shows some signs of damage to the macula of the retina should discuss with their urologist whether it is safe for them to continue to take Elmiron.  It is believed that early diagnosis may help in limiting the harm. But late-stage damage to the macula could result in permanent vision loss.

On June 16, 2020, the manufacturers of Elmiron finally added the warning that the use of Elmiron can affect “pigmentary changes in the retina” and cause difficulties. Some of the problems identified in these new warnings include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble adjusting vision when moving into the dark
  • Difficulty reading

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of Elmiron. They are responsible under US law to evaluate the reports of harm for people prescribed their pharmaceutical products. They first placed a warning on Elmiron in Canada in 2019 and recommended regular eye exams and to discontinue the use of Elmiron if vision problems occurred. But it took them until June 16, 2020, to warn US citizens of the exact same risks.

If you or a loved one has taken Elmiron for interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome for an extended period of time, you may be at risk.  You should schedule an appointment to be screened by an ophthalmologist. If you are diagnosed with maculopathy, pigmentary retinopathy, macular degeneration, or other damage to your retina, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have questions about the Elmiron lawsuit or Elmiron class action, call the defective drug lawyers at the Yost Legal Group.  We are investigating claims for people who have suffered vision loss, maculopathy, or pigmentary injury as the result of long-term Elmiron use.  There is no fee or expense unless you recover.  Please contact us today for your free initial consultation.