Posted on 6/6/2020
At the 2019 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, research was presented showing that Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium), used for long-term treatment of a rare urinary disorder, interstitial cystitis, may cause a degenerative eye disorder. A unique type of ocular damage, pigmentary maculopathy, may develop in as many as 25% of long-term users of Elmiron.
Some of the patients who were identified in the study of the ocular disorder had originally been diagnosed with another eye condition such as macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy but additional testing had shown a link to their medication use. Some of these people may be filing Elmiron vision loss lawsuits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
What Is Elmiron?
Elmiron is the brand name for pentosan polysulfate sodium and is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of the healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson. Elmiron was approved in 1985 as a medication listed under the “orphan drug” status which is a classification given to medications that are one of a few treatments or the only treatment available for rare disorders. However, thanks to an expanded understanding of interstitial cystitis, it’s no longer considered an orphan drug, as there are more options for the treatment of IC.
Elmiron is classified as a low molecular weight heparin-like compound that has anticoagulant and fibrinolytic properties but the exact way that it works to treat interstitial cystitis is not known. Elmiron is taken as a three times daily regimen of 100mg on an empty stomach. Patients who begin the medication are reassessed at 3 months and treatment may be continued for another 3 months if no improvement is seen.
This means that patients for whom taking Elmiron was successful may be on the drug for long periods of time. Typically, those who have developed pigmentary maculopathy have taken the drug for six months or longer. This means that the more successful taking Elmiron was at treating a patient’s condition, the more at risk they were for developing an eye disorder.