West Virginia Elmiron Lawsuits | Vision Loss & Eye Damage Claims

New research links Elmiron with numerous vision problems, including maculopathy, an eye condition that affects the macula: the central part of the retina. This disease can lead to severe vision problems, including:

  • Seeing muted or less vivid colors
  • Straight lines appearing curved or distorted
  • Dark spots in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty adapting to dim lighting
  • Blurred vision

What is Elmiron?

Elmiron is a prescription drug used to treat interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome. Interstitial cystitis is an ailment in the urinary tract system that often causes mild to severe abdominal and pelvic pain. Elmiron has also been used to treat osteoarthritis in humans and some animals.

Elmiron’s Connection to A Dangerous Eye Disease

In 2018 the American Academy of Ophthalmology released an article stating that six patients treated at Emory Eye Center from 2015 to 2017 experienced pigmentary maculopathy. At first, they were unsure what led to the six patients developing this condition, but they all had one thing in common — the use of Elmiron for interstitial cystitis. Seeing this trend, they suspect that the patient’s exposure to Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium in Elmiron is causing these dangerous eye diseases. They described their findings as “a novel and possibly avoidable maculopathy associated with chronic exposure to PPS (Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium).”

These six patients were not alone. In fact, between 1997 and 2019, 100 cases identified as “eye disorders” among Elmiron patients were filed with the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System. Eighty of these were classified as severe, and 22 of the patients were classified as having some sort of maculopathy.

What Do We Know About West Virginia Elmiron Lawsuits and Claims?

Though Elmiron product labeling now includes the risk of developing pigmentary maculopathy, it wasn’t always that way. For the vast majority of this product’s life, Elmiron never mentioned the risk of developing this disease. For a long time, the only reference to developing any form of ocular or vision-related disorders was in mention of nystagmus, conjunctivitis, optic neuritis, amblyopia, and retinal hemorrhage.

Furthermore, it seems as if all of those adverse side effects may have been found in the premarket clinical trials only. It appears that the labeling included no relevant warning about the harmful side-effects they had discovered in the post-market. So, it makes one wonder, how well does the company even know its drug?

These are some of the issues at the center of the lawsuits filed against Elmiron and its maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

What is Maculopathy?

Maculopathy refers to any pathological condition that affects the macula, the central portion of the retina in the eye. Maculopathy targets the macula of the eye causing different parts of the eye to degenerate and, in some cases, die. This is worrisome because the eye’s visual acuity and sensitivity rely on this area of the eye.

Different Types of Maculopathy

The form of macular degeneration in connection with Elmiron is “pigmentary maculopathy of unknown etiology”. Meaning it is an injury with no known cause. However, there are many different types of maculopathy in existence, including:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This is an age-related condition that develops throughout an individual’s life. It often results in sight loss over an extended period.
  • Cellophane Maculopathy. This form occurs when a thin layer of scar tissue pulls on and damages the light-receptive cells of the eye. This most often causes mild to severe visual distortion.
  • Malattia Leventinese. This is most commonly an inherited form of macular degeneration. It begins with pale spots on the eye that eventually grow to honeycomb pattern over the field of vision.

Maculopathy Symptoms

Macular degeneration is usually painless, and you may not even notice it’s happening. The first symptoms typically associated with these diseases are:

  • Image Distortion/Metamorphosis. When objects appear disfigured, blurred, and/or smaller than they are.
  • Muted or Less Vivid Colors. Colors began to appear grayed, dulled, and/or desaturated.
  • Dark Spots in the Center of Vision. A spot appearing in the center of one’s vision is common with macular degeneration. This spot occurs because macular diseases cause the photoreceptor cells of the eye to die.
  • Difficulty Adapting to Dim Lighting. This is another effect of the photoreceptors in the eye dying. It affects your ability to have clear and sharp vision in lower light situations.

Maculopathy Test at Home

If you believe you may have any form of maculopathy, you should consult a medical professional immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment of these diseases may help halt or slow down its effects. However, if you are unsure or would like to monitor the state of your eyes, you can use the at-home Amsler test pictured below. To complete the at-home Amsler test, follow these instructions:

  1. Hold the grid at a reading distance, which is about 12-14 inches away from your eyes. Also, you can wear your reading glasses if you usually use them.
  2. Cover one eye and focus on the black dot in the middle of the grid.
  3. Cover the other eye and repeat the test. If the lines appear to be wavy, dim, irregular, and/or fuzzy, schedule an eye exam immediately.

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At Home Changes for Macular Degeneration

The effects of macular degeneration in your everyday life are usually out of your control. However, you can make small changes so that living with macular degeneration a little easier. Some of these changes include:

  • Change the lightbulbs in your home to 60-100 watts to help your eyes adjust to the light.
  • Add more light around your home to help your stronger eye compensate for the vision impairments in the other.
  • Include different colors throughout your home. Including different colored tape on stairs, walkways, doorways, and more can help you differentiate between different heights of objects. This can decrease your risk of falling and other potential accidents.
  • Reduce glare in all parts of your home when possible

Free Elmiron Claim Evaluation From an Experienced Charleston, West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has taken Elmiron and suspect you suffered vision loss or eye damage as a result, we invite you to call us for a free Elmiron Case Evaluation. Call us toll-free at 1 (877) 943-9378 or visit our website today for a free and confidential consultation. There’s never a fee unless and until we recover compensation for you.

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