Elmiron, a medication used to treat bladder conditions, may be associated with a rare eye condition called pigmentary maculopathy, according to recent scientific reports. Pigmentary maculopathy reportedly occurs after long-term Elmiron treatment. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, the President of Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  A popular bladder medication called Elmiron has now been linked to very serious side effects that affect a patient’s eyes and their vision. Joining me now to talk about this investigation is Scott Hardy with top class actions and Scott, unfortunately this is a very common story. We see this with a lot of pharmaceuticals all the time. One of the biggest areas of, of, of legal practice in the country today is bad pharmaceuticals and it looks like we may have another one on our hands. So tell us what’s happening here.

Scott Hardy:                          Sure. So we’ve actually reported on Elmiron in the past, and it’s connection to possible macular degeneration, but what’s really peaking attorney’s interest right now is the connection to pigmentary macula, maculopathy. And so it’s similar to macular degeneration, but it can also result in blindness for people. A very good friend of top class actions was just talking to me last night and she said, she’s got this bladder condition. And she said, you know, Scott, I wanted to take Elmiron because the bladder condition is so painful. It’s, it’s terrible. But knowing about this side effect, I don’t want to go blind and there are support groups of people out there that take Elmiron and that have said, yeah, I’m starting to see some of these symptoms.

And so that’s what these attorneys are going after because people haven’t been warned that if they take Elmiron for this bladder issue that they could go blind and it’s, it hasn’t been populated out there and this is the only drug that’s affective for this specific condition. So it puts these folks in a very tough position of, do I, do I suffer the pain and the discomfort of having this, this bladder issue? Or do I roll the dice and take Elmiron for some relief and hope that I don’t have permanent vision problems after taking it?

Farron Cousins:                  See, that’s a really interesting point there because usually what we see in the cases of these pharmaceuticals, the lawsuits, is it’ll be a relatively new drug that’ll come out and the pharmaceutical companies go out there and tell doctors, hey, our drug is way more better than something that’s been on the market for 20 years. So please start prescribing this and then the side effects pop up. The patient has to switch to the other. But in this one, as you say, there is no other one. So we’re not looking at necessarily the same scenario that we typically see with these pharmaceutical cases where they push something they know is dangerous as better than something that is not.

So this is a very tough position I guess for, for these patients to be in. And, you know, you mentioned somebody you know has a bladder condition, a family member of mine has one and these are exceedingly painful for people. They, they want relief, they need relief and it’s going to put them in the position, well do I want this pain, this constant pain to stop and possibly go blind or do I just live with pain and not risk it? That’s a horrible choice for anyone to have to make.

Scott Hardy:                          It really is and the problem is that people don’t know if they will be impacted by it and they don’t know if they can start taking Elmiron and get some relief for their bladder issue and then start experiencing partial blindness, blurred vision, other problems, and then go, okay well I’m going to stop. Because unfortunately some of these medical issues, once that ball starts rolling down that hill, there is no stopping it and so it’s unclear, you know, I’ve had friends with MS that were taking a specific drug and then as soon as they tested positive for a certain condition, they stopped taking it. Because it could cause death, once they tested positive. For this one, they don’t know. You know, if you’re taking Elmiron and then all of a sudden you start having blurry vision, you start having vision issues and you stop taking the drug, it might be too late.

And that’s what we, you know, I’d love for the makers of Elmiron to come out and say, hey, here’s a strategy. Because that’s what they did with this MS drug is they said, hey, our drug works and so we’re going to test you every six months and as soon as you hit positive for this specific condition, we’ll tell you if you continue taking this drug and you have this condition, it can kill you. What do you want to do? Elmiron hopefully will have a similar strategy to come out with and say, we’ll run tests, use our drug, get that relief that you want. But here’s some tests and if you start suffering these problems, then we’ll pull you off it, then we’ll figure out a new treatment solution.

Farron Cousins:                  Absolutely. So let’s hope that that happens. As of right now, obviously this investigation is still ongoing and, you know, if it yields the results that it’s already been yielding, we can expect, you know, pretty significant lawsuits in the near future. So folks, if you’re on this drug, if you know anybody on this drug, please follow the link in the description of this video. Head on over to top class actions and if you haven’t already done so, please do subscribe to their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy with top class actions, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Scott Hardy:                          You’re welcome. Thanks for your time.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced