San Antonio Elmiron Lawsuit Attorney
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a bladder pain syndrome that affects millions of people in the United States. While it can range from mild to severe, it causes pain for a long time and can greatly interfere with your life. While IC is not an infection, it can feel like a bladder infection, and cause pressure and pain. Without treatment, it can be impossible to work or sleep. There is no cure for IC, and existing treatments simply control symptoms. People suffering from IC are often desperate for medications that will help them feel better. One of them was, supposedly, Elmiron.
But the side-effects of Elmiron have destroyed the vision of patients who thought it was a safe way to treat their IC.
If a doctor prescribed Elmiron to you or someone you love, you may seek compensation for the damage it caused you. If you are in the San Antonio area, call the Elmiron Lawsuit Attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas for a free consultation and to discuss your situation.
Elmiron and Blindness
Manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Elmiron was approved as a treatment for IC in October 1996. It is the only oral drug approved by the FDA to treat the pain caused by interstitial cystitis. It is also not available as a generic. Other treatments are much more invasive, so Elmiron is the go-to prescription for doctors treating IC. Hundreds of thousands of people were prescribed the drug, mostly women. Additionally, doctors advised many people suffering from IC to keep taking Elmiron for a long time. Doctors prescribed three doses a day, and benefits from the drug took up to three months to take effect. Moreover, for relief to continue, patients have to continue taking Elmiron. If they stop taking it, the pain comes back.
In 2018, researchers raised concerns that Elmiron could damage their macula, part of the retina that is responsible for vision. Since then, more studies have confirmed that Elmiron can cause retinal damage. Not only can this lead to permanent vision impairment, it can even lead to blindness.
Elmiron protects the bladder from irritants found in urine. It forms a barrier between the bladder wall and the substances in the urine that cause irritation. Doctors prescribe Elmiron as the standard treatment for IC because the other treatment options are much more invasive and require general anesthesia.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Janssen), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, conducted two clinical trials to get Elmiron approved for clinical use by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In the first study, patients taking Elmiron reported a significant decrease in bladder pain compared to the placebo. In the second study, patients also reported some decrease in pain, but the improvement declined after six months. Additionally, more than 50 percent of participants dropped out of the study or were ineligible for inclusion in the study. Janssen did not explain if or how this affected their analysis of the results.
Janssen reported that during the clinical trial, about 1.3 percent of participants experienced some adverse events. These included abdominal pain, diarrhea, and hospitalization. But because there was no control group in the second trial, it is hard to determine if the drug or other factors were responsible for these side effects.
In 2018, a doctor at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia reported that six patients who had been taking Elmiron for long a long time had developed issues with their macula, causing changes in their vision. In 2019, researchers with Kaiser Permanente examined the records of their entire health plan to identify patients who were prescribed Elmiron.
They found that 140 patients had taken large doses of the drug for more than 15 years. Twenty-two of these patients had signs of drug toxicity, especially those who had been taking higher doses. That means that more than 15 percent of Kaiser Permanente patients taking Elmiron experienced severe side effects. The researchers noted that while stopping the medication might prevent damage, the damage might already have been done and affected patients could still develop macular degeneration leading to permanent vision loss or even blindness.
Since then, more studies have confirmed that Elmiron may play a role in causing macular disease.
Janssen did not warn consumers about the possibility of retinal pigmentary changes until after other researchers discovered them. Since then, Janssen placed a warning on the drug. But it might be too late for people who have been taking high doses of the drug for years. Moreover, Janssen’s clinical trial showed that the drug could lose its effect after six months. Despite this, the company encouraged doctors to prescribe large doses of the drug for a long time.
Possible Health Effects From Taking Elmiron
Elmiron can lead to permanent changes to a patient’s eyesight and vision. Consumers have reported difficulty with near vision and reading, difficulty adjusting to low or reduced light, blurred vision, and even blindness. It is important to note that we don’t yet know the full extent of visual changes possible from taking Elmiron. There could be additional issues that we are not yet aware of.
In 2020, Janssen finally issued a letter to doctors stating that macular disease was reported in long-term Elmiron patients, and they should not prescribe Elmiron to patients with a history of macular disease. Doctors still prescribe Elmiron to treat IC.
Damages in Elmiron Cases
The evidence showing that Elmiron causes macular disease is very clear, especially in people who have taken large doses of the drug for years. If you have taken Elmiron, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Janssen for your drug-related injuries or potential injuries. The damages available to you will depend on how adversely you’ve been affected. The more your vision was damaged, the more money you will likely recover. And, even if you have not yet had vision changes, you can still sue Janssen to recover the costs of medical monitoring—this means that Janssen must cover any medical bills you wrack up to see if your vision was damaged.
Hire a Skilled Elmiron Lawsuit Attorney in San Antonio
If you’ve been prescribed Elmiron and have experienced changes to your vision or are concerned that you might, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer now. Hire a San Antonio-based attorney experienced in representing the victims of pharmaceutical companies and go after the compensation that you deserve. Call the Law Offices of George Salinas now at (210) 225-0909 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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