Multiple studies say that long-term use of Elmiron, a painful bladder medication, can cause maculopathy, an eye disorder that can lead to blindness. Yet, the manufacturer until recently never warned consumers. Therefore, people took the medication for years while slowly losing vision.
Elmiron is the brand name for Pentosan, which is sodium pentosan polysulfate (PPS). Doctors prescribe this drug to treat pain caused by interstitial cystitis, commonly known as “painful bladder syndrome.” Off-label uses also include osteoarthritis help in humans, as well as in elderly dogs and horses.
Approved by the FDA in 1995, Elmiron sales continue to climb to over $150 million a year.
Elmiron Causes Maculopathy
In 2018, the American Academy of Ophthalmology published an article about ten patients who experienced pigmentary maculopathy from taking Elmiron. Maculopathy is a condition that affects the macula, the center part of the retina. The retina is the most sensitive aspect of vision. Damage here can cause eye disorders and blindness. The study also evaluated ten adult patients taking Elmiron for two years at The Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, GA. All developed maculopathy.
Elmiron Study Fallout
Since the initial study only followed ten people, those in the medical community wondered how many other people who took Elmiron experienced vision problems. Plus, the study didn’t determine how long a patient needed to be on Elmiron before eye damage occurred, the dosage needed for an injury, the progression of damage after discontinuing, and if injuries would become better after halting the drug.
Doctors in Kaiser in Oakland, CA called in patients taking Elmiron for bladder pain. They found that 24% of the 91 people in their database had retinal maculopathy and pigmentary damage, which causes damage to their eyesight. IC Network also began to dig into this study and found almost 54% of 1,604 patients taking Elmiron developed retinal disease.
Harvard Medical Study
In October 2019, Dr. Rachel M. Huckfeldt, an ophthalmologist that specializes in retinal degenerations at Harvard Medical School, published one of the most concerning case reports regarding the dangers of Elmiron in the Journal Ophthalmic Surgery Lasers and Imaging Retina. Her report followed a female eye patient for eight years. The woman began seeing Dr. Huckfeldt when she began experiencing blurry vision and difficulty seeing at night. Over the course of six years, the patient has substantially worst degraded vision. The doctor could not figure out the cause. Even when she returned two years later, her vision continued to decline. Then, Dr. Huckfeldt asked the patient if she took Elmiron. She had. A urologist prescribed a 200 mg low-dose of it after diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. However, she wasn’t still taking the medication. In fact, she stopped using the drug years ago (the second year she saw Dr. Huckfeldt.)
Therefore, all patients who took Elmiron regardless of when are at risk for retinal maculopathy.
Symptoms of Maculopathy
The Journal of Ophthalmology noted Elmiron patients experienced these vision symptoms:
- Difficulty reading
- Taking a long time to adjust to the dark
- Difficulty seeing close objects
- Dimming of vision
- Paracentral scotoma, a spot of vision loss in the field of vision
Consult a medical professional if you or someone you love has taken Elmiron and experienced any of these symptoms. Then, contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm for compensation for your injuries.
Get Compensation for Elmiron Blindness
If you or someone you love took Elmiron and developed retina maculopathy, help is available. Financial compensation could be available. Contact us today to set up a free consultation during which we will listen to your story and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.