According to its website, “ELMIRON® is a prescription medicine used to treat bladder pain or discomfort associated with interstitial cystitis.” You may also notice that the first serious side effect listed in the “Important Safety Information” section on the website is “Changes in the retina of the eye (pigmentary maculopathy)” written in bold print.
In the last few years, the manufacturers of Elmiron have had well over 1,500 lawsuits filed against them in state and federal courts. Many of these lawsuits were filed by individuals who claim to suffer with maculopathy as a result of using Elmiron.
Maculopathy is a disease involving damage to the macula, the central part of the retina. Damage to the macula can cause:
- Patches of blurriness in your vision
- Complete blindness
- Dark spots in center of vision
- Color distortions
- Straight lines to appear wavy
- Difficulty focusing on small details
Doctors now recommend getting a yearly screening if you continue using the medication. If you learn that there is any damage to your eye, you should talk with your doctor right away about whether you should stop taking Elmiron. You can mitigate the damage to your macula if you discontinue the medication early enough.
Regrettably, the potential danger of Elmiron causing pigmentary maculopathy or other eye conditions was publicly uncovered long after the release of the drug, and after thousands and thousands of people started using Elmiron. In an October 2019 study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 3 researchers showed that “about one-quarter of patients with significant exposure to Elmiron showed definite signs of eye damage, and that this medication toxicity could masquerade as other known retinal conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy.”
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Elmiron, now places that warning quoted above concerning pigmentary maculopathy front and center on the Elmiron website to warn people who are taking or considering taking the drug. But plaintiffs across the country are alleging that for years the makers of Elmiron failed to adequately warn of the potential dangers of the medication. Thousands of plaintiffs are now suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals due to their failure to warn about the potential dangers of Elmiron, and much of the litigation has been consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
In MDLs, typically hundreds or even thousands of individual lawsuits with similar allegations are transferred to one federal district court so that one judge handles the pretrial discovery and litigation process. MDLs are fairly common in product liability drug cases, where thousands of individuals all may be alleging to be suffering from similar ailments due to the same medication.
Unfortunately, this is not our first experience seeing pharmaceutical drugs causing serious injury or death to unsuspecting users of the drug. Take a look at our other pages on Actos, Fentanyl, Xarleto, Zofran, and dangerous drugs in general to get some idea of other instances of drug manufacturers who failed to adequately warn people of the potential dangers of their drugs, and the harmful consequences that followed.
If you’ve taken Elmiron for at least two years, and you’ve noticed yourself having vision problems or have been diagnosed with maculopathy or any other vision issues, call our attorneys at Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A. at (954) 833-1440 today for a free consultation.
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