WASHINGTON, D.C. — Elmiron, or pentosan polysulfate sodium, which is a medication designed to combat bladder conditions and has been used for several decades, could damage the patient’s retina according to Science Daily. Researchers now say that the medication is potentially toxic to the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue located in the rear of the eye. It is the retina that gives us vision. Ophthalmologists conducted a thorough review of clientele in a Northern California medical facility and found that around 25 percent of all patients who took Elmiron sustained retinal damage. The difficulty identifying the source of the problem, the researchers said, may be attributed to retinal damage stemming from the medication appearing as another severe vision problem like macular degeneration or pattern-based dystrophy.
One million people in the United States, most of whom are women, suffer from a bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis. Interstitial cystitis causes the patient pain in the bladder and pelvic areas of the boy. The sole treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to combat the problem is Elmiron.
Elmiron was approved by the FDA long ago and continues to be the only treatment for interstitial cystitis. Therefore, it is highly probable that hundreds of thousands of patients in the U.S. could develop vision problems tied to diminished retinal functions.
Researchers looked for patients who used Elmiron for a long time and exhibited vision problems. The study showed that 22 out of 91 people had retinal problems tied to drug toxicity from taking Elmiron.
The longer people take Elmiron, the higher the chance they have of suffering from drug toxicity. In the sample of patients who consumed between 500 and 1,000 grams of Elmiron, eleven percent were determined to have drug toxicity. The number of people with drug toxicity shot upwards to 42 percent if the patient consumed 1,500 grams or more of Elmiron in their lives. Retinal problems could ultimately cause blindness.
Eye doctors believe that the problems could be reversed if the patient could stop taking Elmiron. However, the ophthalmologists suggest that patients speak with their physicians before stopping any medication.
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