Elmiron Vision Loss Lawyer
File an Elmiron Lawsuit for Your Vision Loss Problems
Many people have arthritis and interstitial cystitis, which is also referred to as "painful bladder syndrome." These are severe conditions that cause lots of pain and suffering.
To alleviate these problems for adult patients, doctors have prescribed a drug called Elmiron.
However, patients have experienced several adverse reactions to the dangerous Johnson & Johnson drug and developed difficulty reading or other eye condition that could be permanent. Some patients lose their field of vision not associated with age-related macular degeneration or retinal disease.
Other victims experienced significant hair loss in one single area, where the condition sometimes reversed after stopping medication use, allowing the hair to grow back. The vision impairment associated with the drug led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall the drug.
Patients reported the need to adapt to dim lighting when reading or looking at objects. The dimming of natural or artificial light could restrict the ability to see anything except up close.
Some patients who experienced permanent eye damage or loss of vision (paracentral scotoma) after taking Elmiron have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer, Janssen.
Attorneys Committed to Protecting People With Vision Problems After Elmiron Use
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC works with victims of prescription malpractice, including prescription drug Elmiron patients with eye problems like retinal maculopathy and pigmentary maculopathy. Our legal team helps them file Elmiron lawsuits for financial compensation if they have been harmed due to negligent medication advice.
The following sections review recent developments regarding Elmiron, including the harm it has caused and the help some patients have obtained. If you have been harmed from this drug, call our law office today at (888) 424-5757.
Hear about how Elmiron lawyers can assist you with getting compensation for your vision loss, retinal damage, pattern dystrophy, retinal pigmentary maculopathy, retinopathy, or other permanent vision damage. In some cases, the central part of the retina was destroyed, leading to permanent loss of vision.
What is Elmiron, and how is it Used?
Elmiron is a semi-synthetic polysulfated xylan medication. The specific medicinal name for the drug is pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS), and that identifies its chemical makeup.
For a time, doctors prescribed this prescription for blood-thinning purposes. However, recent studies show that the medication was not remarkably successful as an anticoagulant but did cause excessive bruising in some users. What it was more commonly used for was addressing arthritis and interstitial cystitis.
Arthritis happens when the cartilage around bones breaks down over a period. Interstitial cystitis is a chronic problem causing bladder pain. When interstitial cystitis occurs, the bladder undergoes increased pain and pressure.
It also has triggers pain in the surrounding area of the body-- sometimes referred to as bladder pain syndrome.
What Damage Does Elmiron Cause and What Symptoms Does it Show?
The prescription and use of Elmiron has led to several troubling complications for people across the country. As mentioned above, numerous patients have experienced pain in their head, stomach, and other parts of their body while on the drug.
However, the most severe effect reportedly linked to Elmiron has been pigmentary maculopathy resulting in vision loss and blindness. Maculopathy is a term that refers to general pathological issues with the macula.
The macula is the area in the middle of the retina. It controls visual acuity and sensitivity. An ophthalmologist can determine any macular degeneration that has occurred.
Macular degeneration (like retinal maculopathy) caused by Elmiron has been labeled "pigmentary" but does not have known etiological sources. The diseases can manifest in many different forms for patients taking the medication.
Yet, there are some frequent symptoms that evidence maculopathy due to Elmiron.
Here are some of those symptoms:
- Vessel and capillary swelling, damage, and abnormality around the retina and eye generally.
- Yellow lesions beneath the macula. Note, some doctors refer to this condition as adult pattern macular dystrophy.
- Atrophy within the retina and around the macula.
- Dark pigmentation within the retina.
- Permanent vision loss
If you have taken case that and experienced side effects, you are likely concerned about other side effects and damage the medicine could cause. Below, we have answered some of the common questions involving Elmiron that include:
Can Elmiron Cause Blindness?
The National Center for biotechnology information published by the National Library of Medicine released information in November 2018 on the visual disturbance associated with cumulative exposure to the active ingredient in Elmiron, pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS).
The case study involved six adult patients exposed to PPS. In one case, "For Isaac to patients showed paracentral RPE atrophy, which is the death of retinal pigment epithelial cells. The atrophy typically occurs in a geographical area that affects vision where a patch of the retina and its functions are lost.
What are the Side Effects of Elmiron?
Physicians typically prescribe Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) as a bladder protectant to control of bladder discomfort and pain due to irritation or inflammation (cystitis). However, the medication is also a week anticoagulant with serious side effects that include:
- Abdominal pain
- Hair loss
- Skin rash
- Stomach pain
- Upset stomach
- Mood/mental changes
- Unusual bleeding (blood in the stool)
- Unusual bruising
- Swallowing discomfort
Does Elmiron Heal the Bladder?
Many doctors prescribe Elmiron to restore leaky, thin or damaged bladder surface (GAG - glycosaminoglycans). The bladder surface is a mucous coating that protects the bladder wall and guards against irritation and bacteria.
Doctors often prescribe a typical dose of 100 mg of the medication taken orally three times a day, with symptoms diminishing in approximately a month. Usually, the dosage is taken for approximately six months before the treatment is discontinued.
Sometimes, the doctor will prescribe other medications to be taken concomitantly with Elmiron, including antihistamines and antidepressants in low doses.
However, the liver must metabolize the drug's active ingredient pentosan polysulfate sodium. Because of that, doctors often perform a periodic liver function test to ensure no damage has occurred to the organ.
Is There an Alternative to Elmiron?
According to the Mayo Clinic, other potential effective therapies can be used alternatively to taking pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron). Some doctors recommend sacral nerve stimulation, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), or other nerve stimulation procedure.
Other doctors recommend their patients undergo a cystoscopy surgical procedure where the bladder is stretched (distended). Many patients choose not to take Elmiron due to its active, toxic ingredient pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS) and instead try other lines of treatment that include:
- Physical therapy to relax the patient's pelvic and abdominal muscles
- Hydroxyzine, an antihistamine that sometimes helps with bladder control
- Amitriptyline, an oral prescription medication prescribed to control spasms of the bladder
Can the Bladder Lining Heal Itself?
The bladder can regenerate, and self-repair damaged areas that were harm through injury or infection. The body's progenitor cells that developed in the early stages of development are highly effective at repairing injuries to the bladder lining.
Can Elmiron Cause Liver Damage?
Because the medication must be metabolized in the liver and spleen, there is a potential that pentosan polysulfate sodium, the active ingredient in Elmiron, can lead to liver damage.
There is the potential of saturation of pentosan polysulfate sodium with continued dosing that could cause health problems. It is essential to tell your doctor that you are taking any blood thinners that might have a drug to drug interaction due to commonly experienced anticoagulant effects.
Does Elmiron Make You Gained Weight?
If you are experiencing weight gain and swelling, it might be the result of body fluid build up as a natural response to taking Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium). You should avoid taking the medication if you are on other anticoagulants like heparin or warfarin, aspirin, or NSAIDs like Motrin or ibuprofen.
Also, avoid taking any products containing pentosan polysulfate sodium if you suffer from liver problems, have liver concerns, or are pregnant.
How do Doctors Diagnose Interstitial Cystitis?
Medical science has yet to determine an accurate test to identify or diagnose interstitial cystitis. Usually, patients will complain about pain in the bladder and the frequency and urgency to urinate.
Doctors will usually attempt to rule out a sexually transmitted disease, bladder cancer, urinary tract infection, kidney stone, or other condition that could be causing the symptoms. The physician will also attempt to rule out endometriosis in women and chronic pain syndrome or inflamed prostate in men that are often misdiagnosed as interstitial cystitis.
Doctors will perform a series of tests to rule out any other condition that might be causing the problem, other than interstitial cystitis, could include:
- Urine culture - A urinalysis can be performed by providing a small sample (peeing in a cup) that undergoes a laboratory analysis to identify any infection.
- Cystoscopy - The doctor will insert a camera on a thin tube into the patient's urethra and bladder. This procedure is usually performed after other treatments are found to be ineffective, or blood is detected in the urine.
- Bladder stretching - The doctor can fill the patient's bladder with gas or liquid to distend the tissue. Typically, the procedure is done under anesthesia using a Cystoscopy medical device.
- Post-void residual urine volume - The doctor or technician will perform an ultrasound procedure measuring the amount of urine remaining in the bladder after you have voided in the bathroom.
- Urethra and bladder biopsy - The doctor will remove a small amount of tissue from the urethra and bladder to be tested. Usually, the biopsy requires the use of a Cystoscopy medical device.
- Prostate fluid culture - Doctors treating men have the option to press on the male patient's prostate to remove fluid for testing. The procedure is not commonly performed in the United States.
Is Interstitial Cystitis an Autoimmune Disease?
Yes, interstitial cystitis (IC) is the body's autoimmune response that produces pain or discomfort in the bladder. Many patients taking Elmiron are diagnosed with the need to urinate urgently infrequently.
Women who suffer from interstitial cystitis can have significantly worse symptoms during their menstrual cycles or experience pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. Researchers have yet to determine the cause of interstitial cystitis, and doctors do not yet have an accurate test to diagnose the condition.
Can Interstitial Cystitis Ever go Away?
Nearly half of interstitial cystitis cases will self-resolve without medical intervention. Doctors typically treat the symptoms, not the condition.
While doctors do not yet have a clear understanding of what causes interstitial cystitis, some believe it is an inflammation response, a nervous problem, debris in the urine, bladder tissue problems, and immune system response, or other conditions that cause inflammation targeting the lining of the bladder.
History of Elmiron Problems and Government Response
In recent years, problems surrounding Elmiron prescription and macular degeneration have surfaced in the medical community. They have mostly emanated out of academia, but some studies have emerged out of the private sector as well.
A simple review will offer great insight into the breaking timeline and rapid development of this medical issue of great concern.
Physicians working at the Emory Eye Center at the Emory School of Medicine published a study demonstrating that six patients developed special pigmentary retinal maculopathy after chronic exposure to Elmiron. They note particular harm to the retinal pigment epithelium.
The same doctors at the Emory Eye Center release another study with the American Academy of Ophthalmology demonstrate that patients with a medical history of interstitial cystitis but no exposure to Elmiron did not have the same macular degeneration as those who did take the drug. The report also encourages patients to discontinue the prescription if they have symptoms of maculopathy or eye disease.
Kaiser Permanente discloses the findings of its study regarding Elmiron. It finds high levels of toxicity, especially in those patients with higher dosage levels.
A study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology determines that Elmiron users had a higher rate of macular degeneration and retinal maculopathy seven years into their prescription use.
An article published by the National Institute of Health followed the Canadian Urological Association Journal and published information on the FDA-approved oral medication Elmiron. The article reveals alarming findings and asked doctors to disclose "the emergence of this potential toxicity to expose patients" taking the medication.
Researchers also suggest that "ophthalmic screening in any PPS [pentosan polysulfate sodium]-exposed patient with any visual complaints for evidence of this maculopathy."
Pentosan polysulfate sodium is marketed as Elmiron, a "synthetic polysaccharide that binds to the urothelium, providing a protective layer that may help prevent painful irritation from components of the urine."
Despite these findings, the United States government (FDA) and the medical community at large have failed to take action to prevent the long-term use of Elmiron. It could issue a recall to halt the use of this drug, but it has not yet done so. In the wake of these findings, some people have filed Elmiron lawsuits against the makers of this medication. The substantive merits of those claims and possible benefits are examined next.
Elmiron Macular Degeneration and Personal Injury Claims Against Janssen
In recent years, patients have begun filing claims for financial compensation against the manufacturers of Elmiron (i.e., Janssen Pharmaceuticals) related to severe eye disease.
Their claims suggest that long-term use and exposure have caused severe medical problems, including retinal maculopathy, general eye disorder, and other issues. The complaints offer that the pharmaceutical companies had a duty to warn the consumers of such risks or make and distribute products that did present such problems.
Yet, these suits have been brought individually in the United States District Court by plaintiffs were taking the medication for interstitial cystitis or other bladder condition. They have not been filed in a class-action capacity, but that option has not been ruled out. Class action lawsuits allow plaintiffs to bring claims on behalf of groups of similarly affected victims.
Elmiron Vision Complication Claim Compensation
Claims for prescription malpractice, including Elmiron lawsuits, implicate several forms of compensation for plaintiffs. They may pursue relief for their increased costs, including medical bills, lost wages, and similar losses. They could also seek to recover for pain, disability, vision loss, suffering, reduced quality of life, and other intangible harms.
Generally, prescription oral medication lawsuits action enables plaintiffs to make up for the damage done by the defendants. Victims of Elmiron defects may estimate how their injuries stack up when analyzing the value of their cases. Of course, an experienced Elmiron vision loss law firm could assist you in that process.
Hire an Elmiron Vision Loss Attorney Today
Every medical malpractice case requires a substantial amount of factual investigation, legal analysis, and communications work. The process of building a successful case takes not only time but also money and skill.
Even under the best of circumstances, it isn't easy. When you factor in that Illinois puts tight deadlines on cases (through statutes of limitations), it becomes incredibly harder. Hiring experienced medical malpractice and Elmiron malpractice lawyers could help make sure you or a loved one can get back on track to improve their health and heal from severe side effects.
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers law firm handles all Elmiron cases on contingency so you can focus on your health, and we can successfully resolve your case. It will not cost you anything upfront, and you can schedule a free consultation today to learn about what help awaits you.
Contact us anytime at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your legal options during your free case evaluation.
We look forward to working with you.