Elmiron is a medication prescribed to treat interstitial cystitis, a condition that causes frequent urination and bladder pain. The drug was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996, and 22 years later, this drug would be called into question after some potentially life-altering side effects were detected.

Since Elmiron is the only oral treatment for interstitial cystitis, many people began taking it for prolonged periods. However, while Elmiron was approved after clinical trials that lasted for weeks or months, in 2018, a study was published by the Emory Eye Center indicating that taking Elmiron for years could result in a unique ocular condition known as pigmentary maculopathy. This initial paper was supported by a subsequent report at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in 2019 that linked Elmiron to a vision-threatening eye condition. 

By January 2020, lawsuits began to be filed against the manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Plaintiffs who contracted pigmentary maculopathy suffered from a number of symptoms, including:

  • Blind spots in vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark spots in vision
  • Difficulty adjusting to darkness
  • Difficulty reading
  • Distorted vision
  • Eye color changes
  • Eye pain
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Muted colors
  • Straight lines appear curvy
  • Vision loss

Pigmentary maculopathy, along with retinal maculopathy and macular degeneration, have been tied to Elmiron, according to Forbes. Plaintiffs are typically individuals who have used Elmiron for at least two years, experienced pigmentary maculopathy symptoms, and sought medical treatment that resulted in a pigmentary maculopathy diagnosis.

Lawsuits accusing Janssen of hiding evidence of these side effects have been combined into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). This MDL has been conducting a discovery process that concluded on September 9, 2022. There were three scheduled bellwether trials set in 2023. The first case began in January, the second in March, and the third bellwether case will begin in May.

Plaintiffs have continued to gather around the MDL, with the last count on April 18 noting nearly 1900 plaintiffs. As more plaintiffs continue to accumulate, the likelihood of settlement increases, according to legal analysts.

Experts for Forbes and other financial sources expect a settlement to be announced before the conclusion of the last Elmiron bellwether, but at the time of writing there are no definite settlement plans established.

If you have used Elmiron and subsequently developed pigmentary maculopathy, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For more information about consumer product lawsuits, fill out a free consultation form.