On March 11, an article was published in the medical journal Current Opinion in Ophthalmology in which researchers indicated that one out of every five long-term users of Elmiron, an oral prescription drug used to treat pain caused by bladder disorder interstitial cystitis, or IC, are prone to be left with retinal maculopathy.
The research was conducted by researchers from the University of Kentucky who examined data from cross-sectional studies and found that the average case of retinal pigment dysfunction appears to occur with exposure to 1-2 kg over a 10-15 year period.
The researchers further noted that in patients with long-term exposures a prevalence range of 12.7% to 41.7%, with an overall rate of about 20% of maculopathy was reported.
The researchers have warned that the retinal changes can continue even after patients stop the usage and advised that health care professionals should consider baseline examinations and examinations at five years or after 500 g of exposure along with yearly screening.
In the legal world, in January, a motion was submitted for the appointment of a plaintiff leadership committee. A 25-member committee is proposed, which would include three co-lead counsel and one liaison counsel, seven Executive Committee members, and 14 Steering Committee members.
The number of women leadership positions is more as the plaintiffs in the MDL are expected to be women, as Elmiron disproportionately affects women.
Currently, more than 100 product liability lawsuits are pending in the U.S. against the manufacturer for Elmiron, Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., each claiming that its users suffered severe retina damage and permanent vision problems, including difficulty adapting to the dark light, spots, or floaters in the vision and complete blindness.