The manufacturers of Elmiron —the only drug currently approved by the FDA to treat interstitial cystitis (IC)— are being litigated against, accused of being responsible for causing unexpected vision loss. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the interstitial cystitis drug Elmiron, is now facing accusations of distributing a dangerous bladder medication because reports involving varying degrees of retinal damage have become more frequent.
Elmiron lawsuits are being filed throughout the country. There are dozens of cases currently pending in both federal and state courts as of September 2020. Anyone suffering from vision loss caused by Elmiron should know what their legal options are, and whether they qualify for a lawsuit.
Elmiron Causes Unexpected Vision Loss
Elmiron is currently the only FDA-approved oral medication for treating interstitial cystitis, or IC. IC is a bacterial condition that affects the bladder, causing pain and pressure and occasionally spreading to the entire pelvic region.
However, in many people taking Elmiron results in high levels of toxins forming in the retinal area. Elmiron has been linked to several cases of vision loss and a condition called pigmentary maculopathy in particular.
Also called macular degeneration, pigmentary maculopathy occurs when deposits of drusen, a toxin, build up in eye tissue. Over time, drusen deposits can cause light-sensitive cells to die or may cause other ocular damage, such as leaking blood vessels and further cellular damage. This can result in loss of visual clarity or even total blindness.
Typical cases of pigmentary maculopathy can take years to progress. But many individuals who take Elmiron regularly have linked their symptoms to the drug itself. Elmiron somehow causes drusen deposits to form when they otherwise shouldn’t.
Symptoms of Elmiron Vision Loss
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty reading or seeing distant objects
- Difficulty seeing close objects
- Dim vision or lack of light sensitivity
- Metamorphopsia: a defect that results in linear objects appearing rounded or curved
- Spotty vision loss in the center of one’s field of vision
- Difficulty adjusting to low light levels
- Abnormal blood vessels around the macula
- Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) around or on the retina
- Vitelliform deposits, which look like yellowish lesions beneath the macula
Filing an Elmiron Lawsuit
Individuals who have taken or are currently taking Elmiron may be able to press a lawsuit for personal injuries, medical malpractice, or as part of a mass tort lawsuit.
Most current Elmiron lawsuits do not lay the blame at the feet of doctors. Instead, the primary claims for Elmiron lawsuits are that the manufacturing company behind Elmiron (Janssen Pharmaceuticals) did not warn doctors about potential side effects of their drug. Prior to June 16, 2020, Elmiron’s packaging did not include a warning label listing maculopathy as a potential risk.
As a result, doctors were not aware of this potential Elmiron complication, leaving Janssen as the primary defendant in resultant lawsuits. Had doctors been aware, they may not have prescribed the drug and patients may have opted out of taking it.
Many cases are now being filed on behalf of those who took Elmiron for at least two years and are now suffering vision problems. For a plaintiff to qualify for a lawsuit, their vision problems must have started while actively taking Elmiron or within a year of stopping treatment.
Those unsure about whether Elmiron is the cause of their vision loss should ask themselves a few key questions:
- What notable injuries were experienced?
- When did vision problems begin?
- Do current vision problems affect day-to-day activities?
- How long has the individual been taking Elmiron?
- Is there a family history of eye problems?
Lawyers will ask potential plaintiffs these questions and more before filing a lawsuit.
Those looking to sue for compensation for their vision problems should keep track of their symptoms daily, as well as construct as accurate a timeline as possible of their Elmiron use and vision difficulties. Individuals should also find or keep receipts of prescription medications to prove that they were prescribed Elmiron and that their symptoms began after taking the drug.
Lawsuits are still being developed at this time. But victims of vision loss caused by Elmiron may be compensated in the future for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability
- Loss of income
- And more
What is Elmiron and How Does it Work?
Elmiron is an oral medication also called pentosan polysulfate sodium. While it is currently FDA-approved for treating interstitial cystitis, the drug has caused numerous side effects in individuals who were prescribed it as a treatment for this condition. The most noticeable side effect for most is vision loss.
The exact mechanical effects of Elmiron are unclear. It is believed that Elmiron works by restoring a mucus layer (the GAG layer) on the bladder, which normally defends the organ from bacteria and other irritating substances in urine, such as acid. When this layer is depleted, victims may experience interstitial cystitis. Elmiron may replace this mucus layer with a synthetic alternative.
Doctors published a 2018 study that showed patients taking Elmiron for IC showed unique pigmentary maculopathy for unknown reasons. Something about the drug’s ingredients or concentration clearly leads to vision loss in many individuals.
Contact a Mass Tort Attorney in New York
Many interstitial cystitis patients who were prescribed Elmiron are currently pursuing separate or class-action lawsuits. It’s hoped that successful lawsuits will allow victims to recover financially from the expenses and suffering incurred by this risky IC treatment.
Those interested in determining whether they qualify for an Elmiron lawsuit should contact Sobo & Sobo. As experienced mass tort attorneys in New York, Sobo & Sobo are ready and willing to assist with any new Elmiron lawsuit. They offer a free consultation and can be reached by both phone and online chat. Contact them today for more information.