MTVA Spotlight

What Is Elmiron?

January 10, 2022

Elmiron is a medication commonly used to treat discomfort and pain caused by interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is a chronic bladder condition affecting between three million and eight million women and one million and four million men in the United States.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals began manufacturing the drug, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use starting in 1996.

Elmiron is the brand name for pentosan polysulfate sodium. This is a semi-synthetic drug that acts as a weak blood thinner. Researchers don’t entirely understand how the medication treats IC symptoms but believe the ingredient acts as a protective barrier around the bladder. It prevents irritants found in urine from causing inflammation and can alleviate pain.

Does Elmiron Cause Vision Loss?

Since millions of people in the country suffer from IC and Elmiron is the only FDA-approved drug on the market to treat the bladder condition, the number of people taking it is likely pretty high. Unfortunately, studies have shown a risk of vision loss and other eye-related problems while taking the medication regularly.

During initial clinical trials, medical researchers found that some patients experienced macular degeneration and other forms of vision loss. Two types of macular degeneration can occur: dry or wet. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, the dry condition occurs in 85% to 90% of all macular degeneration cases.

Recently, a study published in Retina found a link between vision-related issues and the long-term use of Elmiron. The researchers sent a survey to individuals suffering from IC, and 921 people responded. The results showed that people with the highest exposure to the drug were more likely to develop macular degeneration or pigmentary maculopathy and have trouble reading small print than those who weren’t exposed to the drug.

A 2019 study performed by three ophthalmologists at Kaiser Permanente in California also discovered a link between vision problems and long-term use of Elmiron, causing eye damage in 25% of patients. Over 15 years, 140 people in the study took an average of 5,000 pills each. Only 91 people agreed to an eye exam, but twenty-two of them had signs of drug toxicity. Toxicity rates increased depending on the dosage taken, from 11% for 500-1,000 grams to 42% for 1,500 grams or higher.

Lawsuits Against the Elmiron Manufacturer

Although studies have shown a link between vision loss and the IC medication, Janssen Pharmaceuticals hadn’t updated its warning labels to include the potential risk of maculopathy. It wasn’t until June 16, 2020, that the FDA finally required the manufacturer to add the risk of retinal pigmentary changes to the label. The FDA also advised patients to undergo retinal exams within six months of starting an Elmiron regimen.

As of July 16, 2021, there were 310 federal and 51 state cases pending against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and other Elmiron manufacturers. Every plaintiff claims that they suffered permanent vision damage after taking the drug to treat interstitial cystitis.

In one particular case, a woman in Nevada took Elmiron regularly for six years. She noticed that her vision started deteriorating and eventually developed maculopathy. She filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on May 4, 2020.

Generate Leads Using Targeted Ad Campaigns

Law firms shouldn’t assume that high digital ad-spend alone will generate new Elmiron clients. If you aren’t using the right method, your firm is wasting time and money. Creating ads and placing them online isn’t enough. You must strategically target specific people who:

  • Have taken, are currently taking or are likely to begin taking Elmiron
  • Have experienced vision loss symptoms included in the Elmiron lawsuit
  • Are actively searching for Elmiron attorneys and are ready to hire one
  • Have loved ones that fit into any of the above groups

Every good advertiser understands the importance of research when setting up a solid targeting strategy. Third party research is a great way to start a campaign, and using your own first party data will fuel your campaign’s long-term success. For example, you can use the data you gather from Facebook ads to determine ad placement optimizations. You can see who’s clicking on your ads and whether those turn into leads and signed clients. Some of the criteria you can use includes:

  • Location – Which states are showing higher engagement rates? How does this compare to third party research that shows which states have higher rates of pigmentary maculopathy or macular degeneration?
  • Demographics – Who’s clicking on your ads? Filter clicks by gender, age, education level, household income and other factors.
  • Behavior – What online behaviors align with your target audience? Most commonly, these include the days & times they browse as well as the specific placements or devices that get the most impressions.

As long as your targeting is optimized to focus-in on the audience you want, you will continue to increase visibility for your firm and get your campaign’s ads in front of the people most likely to contact you and convert into a case.

How We Use The Mass Tort Alliance to Filter and Sign Cases

The Mass Tort Alliance provides effective strategies for generating leads and turning them into actual clients. We work with a team of experienced professionals in the marketing and legal industries that truly understand how to optimize a law firm’s campaign strategy. Our team reviews data from current and past campaigns to determine if a new campaign is working at full capacity and makes changes to any that aren’t.

We’ve been helping some of the nation’s most competitive law firms find people who have become victims of negligent corporations for years now. Dangerous products and drugs lawsuits are unfortunately commonplace in America, and we have dedicated our efforts to helping those in need of legal representation in the pursuit of justice.

For more information, visit

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