Elmiron: Intended Uses and Potential Dangers

Pentosan polysulfate sodium, known by the brand name Elmiron, is a prescription oral drug used to treat discomfort and pain in the bladder associated with Interstitial Cystitis (IC). IC is a chronic bladder condition that results in pain, inflammation, and irritation of the bladder and surrounding pelvic region. This can often cause scarring and stiffening of the bladder that can further attribute to the chronic pain associated with the condition.

Elmiron, approved by the FDA in 1996, is the only current oral drug on the market approved to treat specific bladder pain and discomfort and is not available in generic branding. Since the drugs approval, it has seen hundreds of thousands of users, who are mainly women that most often use the drug as a long-term treatment plan. While researchers don’t know exactly how this drug works, they have found that it does not operate like other pain relief medications such as Tylenol and ibuprofen and it doesn’t work by stopping inflammation. Current research has shown that the drug most likely works by blocking irritants in the urine from the walls of the bladder. It does this by creating a protective barrier on the walls of the bladder.

Elmiron does not act as a cure for IC, but does potentially relieve painful symptoms of the condition, although the evidence for that has been ultimately inconclusive. Elmiron has a number of commonly reported negative side effects including, but not limited to:

  • Abnormal liver function tests
  • Blood in the stool
  • Bruising
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Hair Loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Upset Stomach

Some long-term users of Elmiron have reported pigmentary maculopathy, or pigmentary changes in the retina that can cause issues with reading, blurred vision, and difficulty adjusting to low lighting. If you or someone you know has experienced pigmentary maculopathy or other serious negative side effects from long term use of Elmiron, they might be eligible to file claims.

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