WASHINGTON, D.C. — People taking Elmiron to fight the bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis have also been losing their eyesight, and for decades no one knew why. Now, new research has emerged, linking taking large quantities of Elmiron for a long time can cause blindness. Healthline reported that Elmiron could damage the patient’s retina, which is the tissue fixed to the back of the eye that creates vision. Ophthalmologists caution people who are taking Elmiron must undergo annual eye exams to help identify retina problems before they interfere with the patient’s vision.
Experts are now saying that Elmiron can damage patients’ retinas, according to new research recently published. The bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis is a chronic problem that leaves patients with severe pain in the bladder and pelvic area. About one million people in the United States suffer from the disease. However, most of the patients currently suffering from the problem are women. The drug Elmiron is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fight the disease. Researchers now think that Elmiron is toxic to a patient’s retinas.
The study based its conclusions on the work of three ophthalmologists who reviewed medical records of people suffering from interstitial cystitis and had vision problems. The researchers were able to determine that around 25 percent of the patients taking Elmiron on a long-term basis experienced vision loss.
To compound the problem, the loss of vision appeared to be connected to problems associated with aging, such as macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy. Therefore, the researchers concluded that stopping the medication could alleviate the vision problems caused by medicinal toxicity.
One expert explained the link between retinal damage and taking Elmiron for a long time. The researcher explained that the cells in the retina are different than other cells in the body based on the chemical composition of the retina. The chemical differences in the retina adversely interact with Elmiron. Experts advise people to continue to take their medication until directed by their doctor to do otherwise.
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