For many years, pentosan polysulfate, known for its band name Elmiron®, has been one of the most commonly-prescribed drugs for patients struggling with Interstitial Cystitis, a rare and extremely painful bladder condition. Elmiron® patients had no idea that the drug may be toxic to the retina causing serious vision impairment, but Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the drug manufacturer, apparently knew and did not warn anyone.
This behavior is not unusual. For centuries, drug manufacturers fail to disclose side-effect risks fearing that any negative publicity could deflate sales. Drug companies ignore all of the overwhelming evidence of side-effects risks and alternatively choose to fight these claims tooth and nail. That’s especially true of Johnson & Johnson, which owns Janssen Pharmaceuticals. J&J lawyers are determined to protect the company’s brand name as a family-friendly drug manufacturer.
Mass Tort News publishes "Elmiron Litigatin: Emerging Torts" by Partner Hunter J. Shkolnik and Associate Rachel L. Shkolnik
As an Elmiron® patient, you need the aggressive legal team at Napoli Shkolnik on your side. Our relentless New York Elmiron® eye disease lawyers thoroughly investigate your claim, gather evidence on your behalf, and never stop fighting for you.
Who Takes Elmiron?
Elmiron® treats a wide range of uncommon conditions. Interstitial Cystitis known as Painful Bladder Syndrome is one of several conditions. Normally, when the bladder feels full, people get the urge to urinate. IC disrupts these signals. Victims feel the urge to constantly urinate. As per the Mayo Clinic, Interstitial Cystitis can result in a number of complications including, reduced bladder capacity, lower quality of life, sexual intimacy problems, and emotional troubles.
Patients suffering Interstitial Cystitis are often prescribed Elmiron®. Elmiron® coats the bladder wall with a thin protective layer which eases pain. If patients experience intense pain, the manufacturer authorizes dosages leveling up to five times the normal dose amount. At this time, it's unclear how much Elmiron® is too much to cause vision impairment.
Elmiron® is an anticoagulant (blood thinner), which prevents blood clots after surgery. Patients prescribed with Elmiron® post surgery usually take Elmiron® for only a few days. Although, patients only use Elmiron® for a short period of time, the drug remains in the body for a period of time after the patients stops taking the drug.
Elmiron® (Pentosan Polysulfate) and Eye Disease
Retinal Maculopathy, a rare eye disease, has been linked to Elmiron® use. Retinal Maculopathy is an umbrella term for several similar conditions, including Age-related Macular Degeneration, Malattia Leventinese, which is a lot like AMD, and Cellophane Maculopathy, a rare condition in which a membrane covers the retina.
Retinal pigmentation cells change color, causing:
- Reading problems,
- Night blindness,
- Blurred vision,
- Occluded vision (seeing dark spots), and
- Color blindness.
In 2018, researchers released the results of a three-years study which conclusively linked Elmiron® to Retinal Maculopathy. Two follow-up studies confirmed these results. And, as mentioned above, eye disease is a risk even after patients stop taking Elmiron®. Furthermore, Retinal Maculopathy diseases are degenerative. The longer they go untreated, the worse the condition becomes.
Doctors are unsure why Elmiron® causes vision problems. Some speculate that the medicine creates deposits around the eyes, and others believe that the medicine alters DNA. Luckily, New York Elmiron® eye disease lawyers do not need to show why the medicine did what it did in order to file a lawsuit. Instead, lawyers must simply show cause and effect and there is plenty of evidence on this point.
Your Claim for Damages
These claims are quite complex. Interstitial Cystitis is a rare condition, many people only take Elmiron® for brief periods, and the link between eye disease and a bladder anticoagulant seems remote. So, by the time victims pursue damage claims, the two-year statute of limitations has usually expired.
Normally, that expiration means that victims cannot obtain compensation for their injuries. But that’s usually not true in dangerous drug claims, because of the discovery rule. The two-year statute of limitation clock does not start running until:
- Victims know the full extent of their injuries, and
- They connect their injuries with the dangerous drug.
Assume Sally was diagnosed with Painful Bladder Syndrome in 2015. Since her case was advanced, the doctor prescribed a high Elmiron® dosage, per the manufacturer’s instructions. In 2017, she started having vision problems. By 2019, her RM had progressed to the point that her vision was severely impaired.
The statute of limitations clock did not start in 2015 or even 2017. In 2019, Sally finally knew the full extent of her damages. That’s assuming Sally connected Elmiron® with her vision loss.
Compensation in a dangerous drug case usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills associated with revision surgery. Additionally, most victims are entitled to noneconomic losses for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Finally, jurors often award significant punitive damages in these cases. This compensation is available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the company intentionally disregarded a known risk. Regarding Elmiron®, there is evidence that Janssen knew about the eye disease risk as early as the late 1990s, yet the company did nothing to warn patients.
Victims of harm caused as a direct result of taking Elmiron® have the right to take legal action. If you took Elmiron® for the treatment of Interstitial Cystitis and your doctor diagnosed you with Retinal Maculopathy, you may have cause to file an Elmiron® Retina lawsuit. The pharmaceutical company may not have warned you adequately of the link between Elmiron® and Retinal Maculopathy. A pharmaceutical litigation lawyer at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC can provide you with a free legal consultation to learn your rights. Our lawyers have helped thousands of people injured by defective prescription drugs. We want to represent you in your Actos lawsuit. We are not afraid to take on the pharmaceutical company to fight for what matters to you, justice and compensation. To learn more about your right to legal action, call us today to schedule a case consultation.