Elmiron Eye Lawsuit News

Taking More Elmiron Than Prescribed Could Cause More Extensive Eyesight Damage

Elmiron build up causes greater pigmentary maculopathy if a patient fails to adhere to a strict dosage

Monday, September 6, 2021 - The Journal of Urology recently surveyed women that had discontinued taking Elmiron, their prescribed bladder pain medicine. Nearly all told reporters that they stopped taking the drug because they had been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy or macular degeneration. Alarmingly, most of the women that were taking Elmiron were taking a greater dosage than prescribed. Elmiron takes about 3 months to start to work because it first has to build up to a level in the blood cells. Researchers have found, and the company's website warns that the macular degeneration side effects are worse the more Elmiron one takes. The company's website warns readers, "Patients should take the drug as prescribed, in the dosage prescribed, and no more frequently than prescribed."

Women with painful bladder syndrome known as interstitial cystitis (IC) in medical circles, not only experience chronic bladder pain that is triggered by eating or drinking certain foods but also are nagged by being unable to sleep due to the frequent urge to get up and urinate. Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) is prescribed by doctors to treat the condition as there is no alternative and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson has enjoyed a monopoly on manufacturing and marketing the drug since its FDA approval in 1996. Studies have shown that Elmiron causes pigmentary maculopathy, a form of night blindness that hinders the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely at night. Elmiron patients also have difficulty reading in sub-optimal lighting conditions. Elmiron maculopathy is often confused with age-related maculopathy since the majority of Elmiron patients that report the disease do so later in life after they have taken the drug daily for ten to twenty years. Elmiron also causes, "Alopecia (4%), diarrhea (4%), nausea (4%), headache (3%), rash (3%), dyspepsia (2%), abdominal pain (2%), liver function abnormalities (1%), and dizziness (1%)," according to the product's warning. Hundreds of women with night blindness have filed Elmiron vision loss lawsuits to hold Janssen and Johnson & Johnson accountable for failing to warn them for more than 20 years about the drug's vision-altering potential. Elmiron vision damage has been reported to progress even though a patient may have stopped taking the medication.

To track whether or not taking Elmiron could be causing slowly progressing vision damage, urologists prescribing Elmiron are urged to have their patients visit an opthalmologist to take vision tests before beginning PPS treatment, and to repeat the tests frequently to monitor their eyesight. According to Helio.com, "To better track vision loss in these patients, (DR) Weng suggested that retina specialists work with urologists to complete baseline screening when a patient starts PPS therapy."

If nothing else, informing urologists of the potential for vision damage is an important step in making Elmiron patients aware that the drug is not risk-free. Many who have filed Elmiron Eye lawsuits say that if they knew of the drug's toxicity, they would have made other choices like improving their diet, quitting smoking, and drinking. Urologists today may be ignoring Elmiron's side effects and leaving their patients uninformed.

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