Imagine continuously taking a drug to relieve your painful symptoms only to notice eye problems bothering you as you go on taking your medication. You then visit a doctor to have your eyes checked. According to your doctor, you have an eye condition that naturally occurs with age. So unsuspectingly, you continue taking your medicine religiously — at times, you were even advised to take increasing doses of it.
However, you notice that your vision problems don’t go away. It turns out that the doctor misdiagnosed you with another eye condition. And what you actually have is an eye disease that’s more serious — one that was caused by the medication you’re taking.
Although this may sound like something out of a movie, unfortunately, this has been the scenario for several Elmiron users who took the bladder drug and subsequently developed an eye injury known as pigmentary maculopathy.
According to the latest Elmiron lawsuit update, several plaintiffs have already filed claims against the manufacturer of Elmiron because they believe they weren’t adequately warned of the risks of taking the medication.
If you’re familiar with the above scenario, it’s important to know what your legal options are. Even as important is knowing if you’re eligible to pursue legal action against those who harmed you. Read on to learn more about the Elmiron lawsuit criteria.
Criteria For Filing An Elmiron lawsuit
An Elmiron lawsuit is a legal claim for financial compensation filed by a patient who took the bladder medication and subsequently developed vision problems.
Apart from causing pigmentary maculopathy, long-term exposure to Elmiron can also result in other eye injuries that could progress to permanent vision loss or blindness. Needless to say, this lifetime effect can change your life in unimaginable ways.
However, getting financial compensation that you justly deserve can help you pay your mounting medical bills and expenses from the injury you suffered.
In particular, you may be eligible to file an Elmiron eye damage lawsuit if you or your loved one:
- Used the prescription medication Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) for at least two years.
- Suffered from vision problems as a result of taking the medication
- Started having vision problems while using Elmiron or within one year of stopping treatment
When determining if you have a case against the drug manufacturer, and how strong your case may be, an Elmiron attorney will look at these criteria.
Sharing these information with attorneys who will handle your case will also help them figure out how they may be able to help you and where to proceed from there.
What types of damages can I demand in a lawsuit?
Elmiron lawsuits are handled as individual cases. However, these claims get consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases.
That said, an individual personal injury claim differs from one plaintiff to another. Each case has its own specifics and therefore, each case is unique.
However, some of the most common damages that can be recovered in dangerous drug lawsuits such as Elmiron’s include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital stays, medications, and in-home care
If you have a legal claim against the makers of the drug, it’s important to talk to an Elmiron lawsuit attorney who can help you evaluate your case and identify what form of damages you can recover if you have a case.
Elmiron MDL vs. Class Action Lawsuits
Personal injury claims are handled differently. In the case of Elmiron, since plaintiffs who have filed complaints suffered from different injuries, then they have an individual claim on their hands. These claims get consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
On the other hand, in cases where a large group of plaintiffs developed the same injuries due to the same dangers, it may result in a class action lawsuit. In this legal process, each plaintiff gets represented in one legal action by what is called a class representative.
A common misconception that you’ll also get to see in other sites is that if an individual suffered vision loss because of taking Elmiron, then the patient has an Elmiron class action lawsuit. However, there’s no Elmiron case that has been pursued as a class action lawsuit so far. What we have right now is an Elmiron MDL out of the District of New Jersey.
In an MDL, each case is treated individually. An MDL helps speed up the litigation process, especially in cases involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. The cases are transferred to one federal court, a single judge oversees the pretrial proceedings, then both parties involved get to choose a few cases that will go to a test trial.
The outcome of these bellwether trials is important. It sets the stage for potential settlement discussions in the future.
The Elmiron eye damage litigation continues to grow by the day. To date, there Elmiron MDL includes 679 cases. But as more consumers become aware of the risks and dangers of prolonged Elmiron use, more cases are expected to add to these numbers.
What is Elmiron maculopathy?
Maculopathy, also known as macular degeneration, is any condition or disease involving the part of the eye called macula. The macula is a part of the retina found at the back of our eyes.
It’s responsible for our central vision and provides us clearer and finer details of what we see. There are different types of maculopathy and pigmentary maculopathy is just one of them. Pigmentary maculopathy, also referred to as Elmiron maculopathy, is a unique form of the eye condition that’s only seen in patients who had chronic exposure to Elmiron.
Aside from its association with Elmiron, this form of macular damage has no other known cause. The first study that alerted the public about this connection was published in 2018 by researchers at the Emory Eye Center at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Lead author Nieraj Jain, M.D., of the Emory Eye Center reported that six Elmiron patients who had been taking the drug for an average of 15 years developed unusual changes in their macula. The only thing in common with these patients is that they’ve been taking Elmiron for several years at the time. As such, Dr. Jain and his colleagues warned medical professionals and consumers that the drug may cause retinal damage.
Some of the symptoms that are indicative of Elmiron maculopathy include:
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
- Difficulty reading
- Having trouble seeing objects up close
- Difficulty adjusting to dim or dark lighting
- Distorted vision, such as seeing straight lines as cruved or twisted
Unfortunately, before evidence that linked Elmiron use to pigmentary maculopathy emerged, patients with the condition were often misdiagnosed as having age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy.
FDA Warning Update
When Elmiron got a nod from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996, its label didn’t indicate any warnings about the visual side effects that Elmiron can cause.
These retinal pigmentary changes caused by the drug will only be discovered more than 20 years later. After the first study in 2018 that investigated the dangers of Elmiron, several other research followed suit. Despite the mounting evidence, however, it was only in the middle of 2020 that the FDA updated the Elmiron warning label to include cases of vision problems linked to the drug.
In particular, the updated label included a warning about a type of retinal damage known as pigmentary maculopathy.
Symptoms indicated in the revised warning included:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble adjusting to low light environments
Furthermore, the regulating agency also acknowledged that “cases have been seen with a shorter duration of use.”
While this warning may prove to be helpful for future Elmiron users, this may not be the case for patients who already developed serious eye damage as a result of taking the drug.
Moreover, even with the additional warning for retinal pigmentary changes, Elmiron manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals still hasn’t indicated that it recognizes claims of vision damage linked to the drug.
The company also hasn’t given out a hint that it will issue a recall in light of the increasing cases of eye injuries.
Can Elmiron cause blindness?
Several studies have identified a link between prolonged Elmiron use and macular degeneration — an eye condition that could progress to permanent vision loss or blindness. This is especially true in the most serious cases of the eye disorder.
It might come as a shock for unsuspecting patients how a medication they’re taking for their interstitial cystitis (IC) symptoms can result in permanent vision loss. However, it’s also not advisable to abruptly stop taking the drug because of the potential visual side effects.
In general, abruptly quitting a drug may lead to unpleasant side effects and worsening of symptoms. If you’re currently taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis, be sure to talk to your doctor about its side effects. Decisions about your health are better sorted out with a medical professional.
When should I file an Elmiron lawsuit?
There’s a state law known as statute of limitations that limits your time to file a claim. In most states, the deadline is only a year or two. Once the statute of limitations runs out on your claim, you may not have another opportunity to file an Elmiron lawsuit ever again.
This makes it even more important for you to consult an Elmiron lawyer right away. The clock is ticking. Contact us today if you believe you or someone you love developed vision problems after long-term exposure to Elmiron.
How much can I get from my Elmiron claim?
In an MDL, each plaintiff gets a different settlement depending on the unique facts of their unique case. As of now, however, no cases in the lawsuits have been resolved. Therefore, there’s no information yet on the possible Elmiron settlement amounts in these claims.
The compensation you may get from your Elmiron claim, however, can be determined by your damages. When the extent of your eye injuries are considered severe, there’s no doubt that this factor may largely affect the amount of compensation you could be eligible for.
It’s also worth noting that Elmiron litigation is still in its early stage. In most dangerous drug lawsuits, the cases can be complex. It can also take several years before any compensation payout can be determined.
We Can Help You Bring Your Legal Claim
Elmiron is currently the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of IC. It has been on the market for over 20 years now. There’s no doubt that its manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals — a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — has already managed to reap the benefits of having a drug on the market without having any generic competitors.
Elmiron sales are estimated to be as high as $150 million per year. These influential companies have their own legal teams who can minimize their financial obligations in claims such as yours. Taking on a big corporation may seem disheartening, but we’re here to help you.
We can put you in contact with an experienced Elmiron lawsuit attorney who can take that pressure off of you and help you determine if you meet the criteria for filing an Elmiron lawsuit. Contact us today and explore your legal options with us.