Macular Degeneration and Elmiron

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in the U.S. It happens when the macula region in the eyes deteriorates as we age.

Recent studies have shown that some cases of macular degeneration may actually be caused by prolonged use of the prescription drug Elmiron for bladder conditions. Approximately 350 Elmiron lawsuits have been filed in the MDL class action seeking damages for eye injuries.

Macular Degeneration

retina-300x240Macular degeneration (also called age-related macular degeneration or AMD) is an eye disorder that is caused by the deterioration of the macula. The macula is a small region near the back of the retina in the eye that allows the eyes to see and focus on things directly in front of them.

Macular degeneration usually occurs after age 50 and progresses slowly over time. Macular degeneration usually does not cause total blindness because it doesn’t affect your peripheral vision. It can, however, cause complete central vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration is a very common eye condition in people over the age of 50. An estimated 11 million Americans have macular degeneration making it the leading cause of vision loss.

Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration comes in 2 different varieties: dry and wet.

  • Dry Macular Degeneration: dry macular degeneration is by far the more common type, accounting for about 80% of all macular degeneration cases. Dry AMD is caused by deposits of tiny protein clumps that gradually accumulate in the macula. Eventually, the accumulation of these protein clumps can start to block central vision. Dry AMD slower to develop and less serious than wet AMD.
  • Wet Macular Degeneration: wet macular degeneration is much more serious but far less common. Only about 20% of cases are classified as wet AMD. Wet AMD is caused when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. The blood vessels rupture and spill blood into the retina which causes very rapid vision impairment. Eventually, the ruptured blood vessels cause permanent scarring of the macula and severe vision loss.

Causes of Macular Degeneration

The primary “cause” of macular degeneration is aging (which is why it is often called age-related macular degeneration). We don’t know why some people get macular degeneration as they age while others do not. Aside from being associated with the aging process, macular degeneration may be genetic because family history is another known risk factor. Smoking and high blood pressure are also risk factors.

Macular Degeneration and Prescription Drug Elmiron

Recently, studies have linked a certain type of macular disease to prolonged use of a prescription drug called Elmiron. Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) is used for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is a bladder condition that causes pressure, irritation, and urinary frequency.

Elmiron is patented by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Elmiron is the only drug currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of IC and related bladder conditions. Millions of people take Elmiron every day.

Elmiron was believed to be entirely safe for long-term use, but that changed after recent discoveries in the last 2 years. In 2018 doctors at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta discovered that prolonged use of Elmiron was toxic to the retinal tissue in the eyes.

Subsequent studies have conclusively linked the long-term use of Elmiron to a very specific type of macular disease called pigmentary maculopathy. Pigmentary maculopathy is uniquely associated with Elmiron and can cause severe vision loss and blindness.

Elmiron Eye Damage Diagnosed as Macular Degeneration

Pigmentary maculopathy from Elmiron is very similar to age-related macular degeneration. The conditions have similar underlying causes and symptoms. Macular damage from use of Elmiron can easily be misdiagnosed as age-related macular degeneration, especially in its early stages.

Anyone who has used Elmiron for a bladder condition and has subsequently been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration should consult with their doctor to determine if their condition is actually related to Elmiron.

FAQs: Macular Degeneration and Elmiron

Does Elmiron Cause Macular Degeneration?

Long-term use of the drug Elmiron has been linked to a macular disease that is very similar to macular degeneration. The type of macular condition caused by Elmiron can often be misdiagnosed as age-related macular degeneration.

Does Elmiron Cause Blindness?

Numerous studies have conclusively linked the prolonged use of the drug Elmiron to a very specific and unique disease called pigmentary maculopathy. This condition can cause vision impairment and blindness.

Can I File an Elmiron Lawsuit?

If you took the drug Elmiron for 6 months or longer and you were subsequently diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, or another type of eye disease involving the macula, our law firm will investigate whether you can file an Elmiron lawsuit seeking a settlement compensation payout.

Contact Us About Elmiron Lawsuits

If you believe your vision is lost or impaired because you used this drug, call our Elmiron attorneys today at 800-553-8082 to discuss your legal options.