Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) has been prescribed for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (bladder pain syndrome) and urinary tract infections.
However, in 2018, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) published a study that found a link between patients treated with Elmiron and the development of maculopathy.
Maculopathy refers to a variety of disorders involving the center of the retina, which is called the macula. The macula senses light, and is responsible for all central vision, most color vision, and seeing fine details.
In May of 2019, researchers published a study concluding that Elmiron use resulted in “potentially avoidable retinal degeneration phenomenon associated with chronic [Elmiron] exposure.” They also concluded that Elmiron use caused “structural changes” in the pigmented layer of the retina.
In October of 2019, the AAO published an additional study, which stated that Elmiron “appears to be toxic to the retina.” That same year, three ophthalmologists from Kaiser Permanente conducted a review of patients in Northern California. As reported in Science Daily, those doctors “found that about one-quarter of patients with significant exposure to Elmiron showed definite signs of eye damage, and that this medication toxicity could masquerade as other known retinal conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy.”