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Elmiron and Retinal Damage: What Does the Science Say?

Posted by Ashley M. Baillio | Aug 05, 2021 | 0 Comments

What is Elmiron?

Elmiron is the only FDA-approved oral treatment for a bladder condition known as Interstitial cystitis (IC). This chronic illness causes pain in the bladder and pelvis and affects around 1 million people in the United States, most of which are women. There currently is no cure, and Elmiron is the only FDA-approved treatment on the market today. Since its introduction to the market several decades ago, it's estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients with IC have taken Elmiron.

What is the Retina?

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye; it sends electric impulses through the optic nerve to the brain to process what our eye is taking in. Many specialized components make up the retina, including the macula – the tiny section responsible for giving us clear, crisp vision. Damage or degradation of the macula can cause blurred vision or even total vision loss in extreme cases.

Effects of Elmiron on the Retina

In 2018, physicians at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, GA, noticed a link between their patients who had taken the drug and those that developed abnormalities in their retina. Nieraj Jain, M.D., reported six patients who presented with changes in their macula that could not be explained by anything in the patients' histories. Upon further investigation, Dr. Jain raised concerns over the role Elmiron might play in all cases. Upon hearing of his findings, additional physicians in Northern California began to dig into the data. Ophthalmologists at Kaiser Permanente investigated their entire database of more than 4 million patients and found 140 patients who had taken the drug regularly over 15 years. Of that population, 91 patients agreed to have their eyes examined, and nearly a quarter of them showed clear signs of drug toxicity. The doctors also noticed a clear correlation between the amount of toxicity and the amount of Elmiron the patient had consumed over time.

What if I'm exposed?

Patients who are currently taking the drug should consult their physician about potential alternative treatments. It is recommended that anyone who has taken Elmiron at any time be examined by an ophthalmologist and screened for retinal damage. For patients who show no signs of toxicity related to the drug, it may be possible to continue taking it while submitting to retinal screenings annually.

Call the Cheek Law Firm

Exposure to Elmiron can lead to serious health concerns, and those suffering may be entitled to compensation. If you have taken the drug or have questions concerning your risks, call today for a free consultation. Contact us online or at 504-304-4333.

About the Author

Ashley M. Baillio

Marketing Coordinator: As a loyal member of The Cheek Law Firm, Ashley is not only a Certified Social Media Marketer but also a Louisiana State Licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent and a super-mom to two boys. Ashley appreciates the value of kindness and hard work, and those values help to strengthen our firm's relationship with each and every client we serve in Louisiana.

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