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A Tennessee woman indicates she was left with irreversible eye damage from Elmiron, alleging in a recently filed lawsuit that side effects of the bladder drug caused severely impaired vision and maculopathy.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Martha Turner in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on February 4, presenting claims against Teva Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, as well as Alza Corporation as defendants.
Turner stared taking Elmiron in 2001, following a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis (IC), which causes severe bladder and pelvis pain. According to the lawsuit, she continued using the medication through 2020, and has now been diagnosed with severe maculopathy in both eyes, which is a form of retina damage linked to Elmiron.
As a result of the problems, Turner experiences difficulty adjusting to dim light, dark spots in her field of vision and other vision problems, indicating the Elmiron eye damage has continued to progress and worsen even after she stopped using the drug.
Although a growing number of case reports and published findings in recent years have identified a link between Elmiron and maculopathy, including degeneration and pigmentary changes in the retina, the drug makers did not provide any warnings on the Elmiron label until last year.
As a result of the failure to warn, many doctors were unaware Elmiron was causing users to experience a variety of vision complications, and individuals were often kept on the medication for years, unaware that it was having a toxic effect on the eyes.
Turner’s lawsuit suggests that not only is the drug harmful to patients’ vision, but it also does not work.
“In addition to the serious safety risks associated with Elmiron, early clinical studies relied upon by Defendants to support the approval of the drug, failed to demonstrate Elmiron was an efficacious treatment for IC,” the lawsuit states. “Additional studies have also been conducted that demonstrate Elmiron is no more effective than a placebo for the treatment of IC.”
Turner now joins a growing number of former users pursuing Elmiron eye damage lawsuits, alleging that permanent injuries may have been avoided if earlier warnings had been provided by the drug makers.
Given common allegations raised in dozens of complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established consolidated pretrial proceedings last month, centralized the cases before one judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. As Elmiron lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months and years, it is expected several hundred, if not thousands, of similar complaints may be brought on behalf of former users nationwide.