Recent studies have shown that patients who use the drug Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) to treat interstitial cystitis (also known as painful bladder syndrome) may be at risk of developing serious eye damage. Researchers have found that the risk of eye damage from Elmiron increases the longer a patient is treated with the drug or the larger dose that they take.

In the wake of these findings, many patients who developed side effects after taking Elmiron have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of the drug. Patients who used Elmiron and were diagnosed with eye damage, vision loss, or even blindness may qualify to file a lawsuit.

Eye Diseases Linked to Elmiron

The most recognizable condition linked to the use of Elmiron is known as pigmentary maculopathy. Maculopathy refers to damage to the back of the retina. Pigmentary maculopathy is not necessarily caused by using Elmiron (it is the most common cause of blindness in the U.S.). However, researchers have found that the specific type of pigmentary maculopathy found among Elmironusers  has only been identified in patients who were treated with the drug.

Scientists believe that the risk of pigmentary maculopathy among Elmiron users is linked to the retinal toxicity of the drug. In other words, researchers have found that Elmiron causes damage to the retina, which can lead to eye damage and vision loss. This retinal damage can lead to other eye conditions, including paracentral scotoma (loss of vision) and metamorphopsia (distortions in vision that cause straight lines to become wavy).

Although serious eye damage — including pigmentary maculopathy and retinal toxicity — can occur in patients who have taken Elimron at high doses or over an extended period, serious side effects have also been observed in lower-dose, shorter-term users. Some of the other side effects that have been reported among Elmiron users include night vision problems, difficulty reading smaller text, trouble seeing nearby objects, limited field of vision, and decreased eyesight.

While vision loss caused by Elmiron can be halted when patients stop taking the drug, researchers have also found that eye damage linked to this medication cannot be reversed. In the most severe cases (patients who used a high dose over an extended period), eye problems caused by Elmiron may lead to permanent vision loss or blindness.

Elmiron Eye Damage Misdiagnosed as Other Vision Problems

Because the retinal toxicity of Elmiron was only discovered recently, some patients who were diagnosed with eye conditions while or after taking the drug may have been misdiagnosed by their eye doctor. The eye damage caused by Elmiron can masquerade as other ocular conditions, making it vital that an ophthalmologist knows you have used the drug in order to properly diagnose the source of your diminished eyesight.

Vision loss caused by Elmiron is frequently misdiagnosed as macular degeneration. Macular degeneration refers to age-related vision loss that occurs normally as individuals get older and their eyesight becomes worse. Because macular degeneration commonly occurs among patients over 60 — and because many Elmiron users are older patients — it may be difficult for some eye doctors to distinguish vision loss due to age from eye damage caused by Elmiron.

Eye disease resulting from Elmiron may also be confused with a condition known as pattern dystrophy. Pattern dystrophies are deposits of pigment inside the eye, which can produce vision problems. Doctors who are unaware that a patient has taken Elmiron may mistakenly conclude that the vision problems experienced by some Elmiron users are due to pattern dystrophy.

Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Elmiron Users With Eye Damage

In the wake of several studies that linked Elmiron to an increased risk of eye damage, some patients who were diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, retinal damage, or other vision problems after taking this drug have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

These lawsuits have alleged that the two drugmakers failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the risk of side effects of Elmiron, even though they may have known about the dangers of the drug years ago.

As of March 2021, at least 90 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen on behalf of patients who were diagnosed with eye damage, including blindness, pigmentary maculopathy, and retinal toxicity. However, given the fact that it may take years after using Elmiron for vision problems caused by this drug to develop, legal experts predict that more lawsuits will continue to be filed as patients learn that their vision problems may be linked to the use of Elmiron.

Free Legal Consultation for Elmiron Users with Vision Loss

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, retinal toxicity, paracentral scotoma, or other vision problems after taking Elmiron, you may qualify to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. The first step in filing a claim is to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical liability attorney, who can advise you regarding your legal rights and help you start the process of filing a claim.

For more information about filing an Elmiron lawsuit and to receive a free legal consultation about your case, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117. You can also reach us by filling out the free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page. After receiving your message, one of our staff members will contact you for more information and to help you schedule your free consultation with an attorney.