Research has shown a medication commonly used to treat interstitial cystitis (IC), a painful bladder condition, may be linked to retinal damage and vision loss. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of the medication, Elmiron, for treatment of IC many years ago, but this side effect is a rather recent development.
When was the link discovered?
Two studies support the link between the bladder medication and vision problems. The first study, led by an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine, focused on six patients who had taken the drug for 15 years. The researchers found all six patients suffered from changes to the parts of their retinas that provide clear central vision.
Based on these findings, the same group of researchers examined 10 more patients and found similar retinal changes. They reported their findings at a medical conference in 2019. Then, researchers with Kaiser Permanente in California also performed a study and found 25% of their patients who took the medication also suffered from retinal damage.
How many people in the U.S. are affected by Elmiron use?
At least 1 million people throughout the United States suffer from IC. Medical professionals estimate several hundreds of thousands of people used Elmiron to help manage their condition. The medication may be the reason thousands of people are suffering from macular degeneration, retinal dystrophy or other visual issues.
What should you do if you take this medication?
Drug companies should be held responsible for any dangerous or defective drug they make or distribute. Do not let them get away with this.
Get a yearly vision screening even if your eyesight is fine right now. This will help you catch any potential problems right away. If you have had changes in your vision, discuss treatment options with your medical care provider right away before it gets worse. Then, learn about your options for compensation for your losses.