Elmiron is a dangerous drug under fire for harmful and serious side effects. A blood thinner and bladder protectant, Elmiron is commonly prescribed to patients suffering from interstitial cystitis and irritation and/or inflammation of the bladder. Although the drug is prescribed to relieve patients of bladder pain, usage has been linked to an increased risk of developing the eye disorder pigmentary maculopathy, among other vision loss problems, any one of which can result in vision loss.

Elmiron is produced by pharmaceutical manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals that is prescribed to patients with interstitial cystitis-related bladder inflammation, irritation, and pelvic pain. These conditions can range from moderate to severe, with the most severe cases typically associated with the urgent sensation of needing to use the restroom, which women tend to experience more often than men. Elmiron is designed to attach to the wall of a patient’s bladder, buffering it from irritants; however, growing reports of long-term use of the drug suggest it does more harm than good.

Elmiron Vision Loss

Although all drugs come with potential side effects, they are usually mild and not life-altering. Elmiron, however, is alleged to cause the debilitating eye disorder pigmentary maculopathy in patients who use it for an extended period of time. According to a study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 25% of patients surveyed with long-term prescribed use of the drug displayed definite signs of abnormal and increased retinal damage. Elmiron users reported the following symptoms:

  • Vision dimming
  • Difficulty adjusting to lighting, dim, and dark settings
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty detecting objects at close range
  • Paracentral scotoma (loss of vision in portions of the field of vision)

Sadly, the almost one million patients suffering from interstitial cystitis have limited options when it comes to prescription medication to treat their pain and discomfort from the disease. This means those who seek treatment for pain may actually worsen their health.

Currently Elmiron is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug to treat interstitial cystitis-related issues; and, because of a lack of market competition, Elmiron comes a high price tag that has resulted in significant profits for Janssen. Elmiron’s dominance and ability to produce massive profits only serve to encourage ongoing manufacturer irresponsibility. Manufacturers have a duty to disclose the potential dangers associated with use of their products; and, Elmiron users have experienced unnecessary and preventable injury due to a lack of complete disclosure to consumers.

What Does This Mean for Elmiron Patients?

The full extent of Elmiron’s dangers have yet to be discovered; however, studies have uncovered high toxicity levels from long-term use can lead to maculopathy. While each patient reacts differently to medication, it may take years for some Elmiron patients to notice vision loss. The area of the eye that Elmiron’s toxins attack is known as the macula – an extremely sensitive area of the eye critical for vision. Depending on the patient, damage to the macula could result in permanent loss of vision in a timeframe that does not correlate with typical vision loss factors, such as age. It’s important to note macular degeneration is painless, meaning that it is unlikely Elmiron users will be aware of the severe and potentially irreversible damage happening, quite literally, before their eyes until it is too late.

Users who haven’t experienced symptoms or who experienced mild issues should consult with their urologist on discontinuing Elmiron use rather than voluntarily ceasing taking the drug. It’s also recommended that Elmiron patients consult with their ophthalmologists to undergo annual retinal screenings to monitor for damage. It is more than disheartening for patients who already live with chronic pain that comes with their illness to discover the only available treatment can result in permanent vision loss.

While the negatives associated with the use of Elmiron are plenty, they do not render a patient helpless. Elmiron patients can regain a sense of control over their health by pursuing legal action against Janssen Pharmaceuticals for its negligent actions that inflicted further injury to consumers. No patient should suffer life-changing side effects because a drug manufacturer failed to disclose all potential side effects and dangers clearly on product packaging and in advertising.

Houston Defective Drug Attorneys

Patients and healthcare professionals trust that pharmaceutical manufacturers have disclosed all information on their drugs to both physicians and potential consumers prior to widespread consumption. Dangerous drugs can cause permanent and life-altering injuries are prescribed to patients who believe the drugs will help them, not inflict further pain. Pharmaceutical manufacturers would rather not disclose critical health information in order to maintain market dominance and increase profits. If you or a loved one has taken Elmiron and suffered any eye injury or vision loss, contact the Houston dangerous drug attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today to discuss your case at no cost.

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