While most drugs approved by the FDA come with a long list of side-effects, they all undergo rigorous testing and observation before being distributed to the public and designated as “safe.” Unfortunately, some drugs are approved for public use, but only after they’ve been in use for years are long-term negative side effects discovered.
Elmiron is a drug that has been in use since the 1990s. It is designed to help people dealing with different bladder issues, but unfortunately, patients were only recently made aware of the drug’s link to permanent vision loss.
Elmiron and Eye Damage
An initial report was filed in 2018 regarding the effects of Elmiron on the eyes, suggesting that long-term use could cause damage to the retina. More recently, an active lawsuit has been taken out against the manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals due to a specific eye issue that is being consistently linked with the use of Elmiron.
This issue, called maculopathy, can cause irreversible vision damage and sight loss.
A study performed by doctors at Kaiser Permanente in California found that as many as one-fourth of the patients who used Elmiron for an extended period of time had vision damage.
The unique type of maculopathy experienced by Elmiron users affects the area of the eye that sees pigment. As a result, it can cause vision issues such as:
- Areas of vision loss
- Difficulty seeing objects that are close up
- Reading troubles
- Difficulty seeing in the dark or dim lighting
Who Is at Risk?
There are a lot of unfortunate circumstances surrounding this particular lawsuit. First of all, Elmiron is currently the only drug approved by the FDA to treat internal cystitis—the most common bladder issue people use it for.
Secondly, the Kaiser study found and tested 140 patients who had been taking Elmiron over the course of 15 years, each of whom had taken over 5,000 Elmiron pills. Of those who came in for vision exams, 22% had signs of drug toxicity to the eyes. That percentage continued to grow with higher dosages of the drug itself.
What Can Be Done?
Unfortunately, the side effects of Elmiron can go unnoticed at first. If you currently take the drug or have taken it in the past, you should talk with your doctor to get informed about the recently discovered risks it poses.
There are also currently lawsuits being brought against Janssen Pharmaceuticals to get compensation for patients who have been affected. If you have suffered permanent eye damage from taking Elmiron, Elmiron lawsuit attorneys can help you hold manufacturers accountable and receive compensation for your injuries.
It is also a good idea to get a thorough eye exam every year. In many cases, if vision problems are caught early enough they can be mitigated, typically by stopping the use of the medication. Unfortunately, if the problem is discovered too late, macular degeneration may already have occurred, which can contribute to a permanent loss of vision. That can be concerning to hear, but it’s a rare occurrence and can typically be avoided if you already go to the eye doctor regularly.