New research shows that Johnson & Johnson's Elmiron causes vision loss due to retina damage. The only drug approved to treat a common bladder condition, Elmiron has been taken by hundreds of thousands of patients over the past thirty years. Consumers and doctors alike believed the drug to be safe, only to learn recently that Elmiron vision loss is a serious risk. This page contains comprehensive Elmiron vision loss information from attorneys handling Elmiron cases for vision problems nationwide.
The most common reason patients take Elmiron is to treat the bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis or IC. IC affects approximately a million Americans, resulting in severe pelvic pain and bladder pain. The majority of patients prescribed Elmiron are women, and many take the drug for years on end.
Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) received FDA approval in 1996. To this day, Elmiron remains the only FDA-approved treatment for IC. While no one knows with certainty, it is believed that Elmiron treats IC by developing a protective layer on the bladder's wall.
Elmiron is a product of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the global pharma giant Johnson & Johnson. Elmiron has no generic competitors, and as a result the drug is pricey--averaging $600 / month. Elmiron yields at least $150 million in annual sales on behalf of J&J.
Over the past 25 years, hundreds of thousands of patients have taken Elmiron for years at a time. Only in the past year have medical professionals become aware of the risks for Elmiron vision problems. In retrospect, it is evident that many patients have been misdiagnosed with age-related macular degeneration or another eye problem when, in fact, they were suffering from Elmiron vision problems as a result of prolonged exposure to this dangerous drug.
Elmiron vision problems have been classified as macular degeneration and pigmentary maculopathy. The substance itself is thought to be toxic to the eye's retina. The retina is a sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that senses light and enables sight. Prolonged exposure causes Elmiron vision problems by altering the structure of the pigmented layer of the retina.
Symptoms of Elmiron vision problems include:
Elmiron vision problems increase over time, as exposure to the drug increases. Researchers do not know yet if there is a safe threshold for exposure, but recommend monitoring patients annually for signs of macular degeneration. Elmiron vision problems will stop advancing when the patient stops taking the drug. Unfortunately, there are no other known treatments for this particular bladder ailment.
Critics say Janssen Pharmaceuticals knew or should have known about the risk for Elmiron vision problems. Yet it took the work of a physician, Dr. Nieraj Jain of Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to begin putting two and two together.
Dr. Jain, detected a strange commonality in six of his patients taking Elmiron: they were all developing unexpected vision problems that appeared to be caused by damage to the retina. He cautioned the medical community that there could be a link between Elmiron and vision problems.
Next, a group of ophthalmologists led by Robin A. Vora, M.D. of Kaiser Permanente dug into the records of the network's 4.3 million patients to look for further trends. The team found a clear connection between Elmiron and vision loss: 24% of patients taking the drug for fifteen years or more develop Elmiron vision problems. As exposure to Elmiron builds over time, the rate of drug toxicity and retinal damage also increases.
Presumably, hundreds of thousands of Americans have been exposed to the risk of Elmiron vision problems over the past three decades without any knowledge of the danger. For three decades, Elmiron vision loss cases were misdiagnosed as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy--meaning the patients continued to take the toxic drug Elmiron, potentially causing additional Elmiron vision problems.
Our attorneys specialize in holding large corporations accountable when they've placed profits ahead of safety. Through settlements and winning verdicts, our attorneys have obtained millions for our clients. Let us help you today.
Filing a lawsuit will allow you to hold the pharmaceutical company accountable for damage it has caused you or a loved one, while also providing real compensation for your medical expenses, suffering and loss. Contact us today for a free consultation.