What You Need To Know About Elmiron and Vision Loss

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If you or someone you know has been taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis (IC), you may have heard about the possible link between this medication and vision loss. While the FDA has not yet issued a formal warning, they are investigating reports of this potential side effect. In the meantime, it’s essential to be informed about the potential risks of taking Elmiron to make the best health decision.

What is Elmiron?

Elmiron is a prescription medication used to treat interstitial cystitis (IC), a condition that causes bladder pain and frequent, urgent urination. IC is a chronic condition, so people who take Elmiron usually do so for long periods, sometimes lasting years. Elmiron is the only FDA-approved medication for IC, and it is taken orally.

Types of Vision Loss Associated with Elmiron Use

Taking Elmiron over an extended time can lead to vision problems such as macular degeneration (MCD), retinal maculopathy (RM), and pigmentary maculopathy (PM). To date, Elmiron is the only medication linked to pigmentary maculopathy.

Does Elmiron Cause Blindness?

MCD, RM, and PM are all diseases that affect the macula, the small central area of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. When the macula is damaged, it can cause a loss of central vision. In some cases, vision loss from macular degeneration is only mild. However, it can be severe in other cases, causing complete blindness. There is currently no cure for macular damage; once vision is lost, it cannot be recovered.

What To Do If You Think You Have Vision Loss Due To Elmiron Use

If you or someone you know has been taking Elmiron for IC, talk to your doctor. It’s essential to be aware of the risks of taking this medication. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to minimize the chance of vision problems:

  • Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue taking Elmiron.
  • If you experience any vision problems, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
  • If you experience any vision loss related to Elmiron use, consult an ophthalmologist.

Is Anything Being Done For Those Harmed By Elmiron?

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Elmiron, is currently facing lawsuits from patients who say the medication harmed them. These lawsuits allege that Janssen knew or should have known about the potential risks of Elmiron and failed to warn patients or doctors.

Bottom Line

Interstitial cystitis, a disorder that causes bladder discomfort and frequent urination, is treated with the drug elmiron. The only oral treatment for this illness that has FDA approval is Elmiron. Long-term Elmiron usage has been associated in several studies to visual deterioration.

In 2019, the FDA warned that people taking Elmiron might develop a type of eye damage called pigmentary maculopathy. This condition can cause vision changes, including blurred or distorted vision, dark spots in sight, and difficulty adjusting to dim lighting.

If you have been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and are taking Elmiron, it is essential to have regular eye exams so that any changes in your vision can be detected early.