What types of eye damage have been linked to Elmiron?

An elderly woman undergoes an eye exam at her ophthalmologist.

In 2018, researchers uncovered evidence that patients using the interstitial cystitis drug Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) were at risk of developing serious and potentially permanent eye damage. In the two years since this evidence was first uncovered, other scientists have confirmed that Elmiron users may develop eye damage that can lead to vision loss or blindness.

Some patients who were diagnosed with vision problems after using Elmiron have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of the drug, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. If you or a loved one used Elmiron and develop any of the vision problems listed below, you may also qualify to take legal action.

What types of eye damage have been linked to Elmiron?

Pigmentary Maculopathy:

Maculopathy (or damage to the back of the retina) is the most common cause of blindness in the United States. However, researchers have found that some patients who were prescribed Elmiron have developed a form of the disease known as pigmentary maculopathy.

Patients who developed pigmentary maculopathy after taking Elmiron in high doses may develop serious and possibly permanent vision loss. If this vision loss is detected early enough, additional eye damage can be prevented; but in patients who used Elmiron over an extended period or who were prescribed higher doses of the drug, vision problems caused by pigmentary maculopathy may be irreversible.

Retinal Toxicity:

Researchers have found that when Elmiron is used over an extended period or at high doses, the medication can be toxic to the retinal. This retinal toxicity is what causes eye damage and other vision problems that have been linked to Elmiron.

Although eye damage caused by the retinal toxicity of Elmiron may go undetected for some time, if left untreated, retinal damage caused by the drug may lead to other vision problems, including paracentral scotoma (vision loss) and metamorphopsia (vision problems in which straight lines look wavy).

Vision Loss:

During their initial stages, pigmentary maculopathy and retinal toxicity caused by Elmiron may go undetected. Because many Elmiron users are at an age when some vision loss is normal, they may attribute their eyesight problems to the simple fact of getting older. In other cases, their vision loss may be misdiagnosed by an eye doctor as macular degeneration (age-related vision loss) or pattern dystrophy (deposits of pigment inside the eye that can cause vision problems).

However, because eye damage caused by using Elmiron grows worse the longer a patient takes the drug, eventually eye damage caused by the medication may lead to serious, permanent vision loss. Because of this, it is important that patients who are experiencing vision problems inform their optometrist about the fact that they are taking or were taking Elmiron so that their doctor can check for specific types of vision loss that are caused by the drug.

Blindness:

If left untreated, pigmentary maculopathy or other eyesight problems caused by the retinal toxicity of Elmiron can lead to blindness. Even in cases where eye damage caused by the interstitial cystitis drug is less severe, Elmiron may cause significant vision loss that limits a patients’ ability to perform day-to-day activities or lead an active life.

Blindness caused by Elmiron occurs when patients are treated with the drug over a period of several years, or when they are prescribed high doses of the medication by their doctor. Researchers have found that the risk of eye damage from Elmiron increases the more of the drug is taken by a patient. Therefore, it is important that Elmiron users with vision problems talk with their doctor in order to determine whether their symptoms are caused by Elmiron before this eye damage leads to permanent blindness.

Other Vision Problems:

Patients with eye damage caused by Elmiron may experience other vision problems, including:

  • decreased eyesight
  • difficulty reading small text
  • difficulty seeing close objects
  • night vision problems
  • reduced field of vision

Some of these symptoms may be present in Elmiron users who have only taken the drug for a shorter period of time, or at lower doses. Although less serious than some of the other side effects linked to Elmiron, these early vision problems may be a sign of more serious and permanent vision loss that could develop if patients continue to use Elmiron.

Free Legal Consultation for Elmiron Users with Eye Damage

If you or a loved one used Elmiron and have been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, retinal toxicity, vision loss, blindness, or other vision problems, you may qualify to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for eye damage caused by the interstitial cystitis drug. The first step in filing a claim is to consult with an experienced product liability attorney, who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a case.

For more information about filing an Elmiron lawsuit and to find out if you qualify, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to schedule a free legal consultation about your case. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by answering a few simple questions in our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page. After receiving your information, a representative of our law firm will contact you to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

About the Author: Hissey, Mulderig & Friend