Lawsuits Brought Against Elmiron Makers For Alleged Link To Vision Loss

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Elmiron is a drug that has been prescribed for years to treat interstitial cystitis – a painful condition faced by up to 12 million people in the U.S. Around twice as many women as men are affected, with symptoms including urinary urgency and a burning sensation in the bladder area. Lawsuits are being brought in the U.S. and, more recently, Canada, alleging that there is a link between the medication and vision loss. Legal professionals allege that the makers of the drug have known that the medication was linked to vision problems since 2018, but failed to provide doctors and patients with this information. 

Vision Loss Issues 

Plaintiffs claim that the range of problems caused by Elmiron include blurry vision, muted colors, and reading problems. In Canada, an Elmiron class action lawsuit was recently filed, while in the U.S., legal pressure is also mounting. In the U.S. some firms are offering patients free representation, with fees or percentages being charged only in the event that the lawsuits are successful and compensation is obtained. In research conducted in 2018 and published in Ophthalmology, scientists presented the results of the evaluation of six adult patients seen between 2015 and 2017. The findings showed that there was “a novel and possibly avoidable maculopathy associated with chronic exposure to PPS (pentosan polysulfate, the active ingredient in Elmiron).  

A Review Of Patients

Later research conducted in 2019 and published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that about 25% of patients with significant exposure to Elmiron showed definite signs of eye damage. The researchers added that this problem “could masquerade as other known retinal conditions such as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy.” The damage caused by the toxins, say the scientists, affects the central part of the retina, which is vital for seeing things clearly and crisply. Their research began with 140 patients who had taken around 5,000 Elmiron pills over the course of a decade and a half. Around 65% of these patients agreed to come in for an ocular exam, with 22 of them showing “clear signs of drug toxicity.” The researchers recommended that patients who have no visual problems be screened for vision problems at least once yearly. Those who do have signs of toxicity, meanwhile, should talk to their specialist about discontinuing the medication. 

What Problems Can Arise From Drug Toxicity?

In addition to problems with sight, vision problems such as those described can cause many other issues, ranging from mental health issues to a higher risk of falling. One study published in JAMA Ophthalmology in 2014 linked poor vision to a reduced life expectancy. Additional issues can include cognitive decline, difficulty learning, and a feeling of being discriminated against. Therefore, it is important for those affected to seek specialist medical and legal attention. 

The plethora of cases against the manufacturers of Elmiron arise from findings of a link between this drug and problems such as blurry vision and difficulty reading. Currently cases have been brought both in the U.S. and Canada, with lawyers calling those affected to see them for advice. It is important to obtain compensation if it is forthcoming, since visual problems can result in a plethora of health issues that may require specialist care.