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Elmiron Alternative for Interstitial Cystitis Treatment

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

Elmiron is used to treat interstitial cystitis. However, it’s been discovered in recent years that this bladder pain relief medication has serious health risks. If you’ve been using Elmiron, it’s a good idea to switch to an alternative.

Schmidt & Clark lawyers have two decades worth of experience in dealing with personal injury cases. We’ve dealt with countless cases where people experienced the health consequences of using dangerous medication.

Today, we’ll explain what Elmiron alternatives you can use and what to do if you have damaged health due to Elmiron use.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Elmiron is most commonly used to treat interstitial cystitis. 
  • Elmiron can cause a series of eye issues, such as a damaged retina.
  • There are various oral medications, alternative therapies, and surgeries you can try instead of Elmiron.
  • You should consult a lawyer if you’ve been diagnosed with eye vision problems after taking Elmiron.

Dangers of Using Elmiron

Man having an eye strain

The only FDA-approved medication for treating interstitial cystitis is Elmiron [1]. Interstitial cystitis is a condition that causes pain in the bladder and pelvic pain, and urinary urgency. 

“Interstitial cystitis is a chronic inflammation of the bladder that causes people to urinate -- sometimes painfully -- as often as 40, 50, or 60 times a day. Their quality of life, research suggests, resembles that of a person on kidney dialysis or suffering from chronic cancer pain. Not surprisingly, the condition is officially recognized as a disability.” Harvard Medical School

Recent studies showed that Elmiron has a range of side effects associated with eyes and vision. One study proved that Elmiron caused eye damage in a quarter of studied patients [2].

Elmiron is especially dangerous for the retina and can cause macular degeneration. Other dangerous side effects include:

  • Maculopathy
  • Pigmentary maculopathy
  • Retinopathy
  • Scotoma

These conditions can have consequences such as:

  • Vision loss
  • Vision impairment
  • Halo vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Complete or total blindness

Related Article: Elmiron Lawsuit Update

What Elmiron Alternatives are Available?

Pouring medication pills on hand

I mentioned that Elmiron is the only FDA-approved medication for IC, which means there’s no generic alternative for Elmiron. 

Unfortunately, many uncertified vendors, both in brick-and-mortar and online pharmacies, claim to sell approved Elmiron alternatives. That’s not the case.

Oral Medication

Several oral medications can potentially help with treating interstitial cystitis, such as:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — Includes common over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve (naproxen sodium).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants — Drugs like Tofranil can help relax the bladder and block pain.
  • Antihistamines — Common medications such as Claritin. These can reduce urinary urgency and reduce bladder pain.

Alternative Therapies

Doctor and nurse in the middle of a surgery

Apart from prescription medication, other therapies can be used as Elmiron alternatives, such as:

  • Nerve stimulation — Sacral nerve stimulation and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). During TENS, mild electrical pulses increase blood flow, relieve pain in the pelvic region, and reduce urinary frequency. 
  • Bladder distention — This is done during a surgical procedure called cystoscopy.
  • Bladder instillation — Medication that goes directly to the bladder through a catheter.
  • Physical therapy — Can help alleviate muscle tenderness and tissue abnormalities caused by IC.

In general, oral medication is more effective than therapies. The medication alleviates the pain that happens due to IC. However, all of these are safe alternatives to Elmiron. To choose the best alternative for you, you should talk with your doctor.


Sometimes, the doctor can even prescribe surgery. This method isn’t used very often because it can lead to several complications. 

Usually, people who have severe pain in the bladder wall and can only hold very small amounts of urine are surgery candidates. 

Possible surgeries include:

  • Fulguration — It is minimally invasive. It requires the insertion of instruments through the urethra. Its purpose is to burn ulcers that occur with interstitial cystitis.
  • Resurrection — Also minimally invasive. Functions in the same way as fulguration, but it cuts ulcers instead of burning them.
  • Bladder augmentation — Only done in rare cases. It doesn’t alleviate pain but increases bladder capacity.

What to Do if You Have Eye Damage Because of Using Elmiron

Woman holding glasses in front of the camera You should consult your doctor if you have eye damage because of using Elmiron, even if you aren’t experiencing any major side effects.

This is even more important if you've been using this medication for a long time. You should revisit your diagnosis, especially if the bladder inflammation hasn’t improved.

In case you’re experiencing some side effects when using Elmiron, you should consult your doctor straight away. If the doctor diagnoses you with eye damage, you have ground for a lawsuit.

In this case, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to find an experienced attorney, as claims against large corporations can be a big undertaking. 

A lawyer can help you get damages that may make living with an eye condition easier.

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What is the fastest way to get rid of cystitis?

The fastest way to get rid of cystitis is by using antibiotics. They are effective in treating mild cystitis cases, and the pain usually disappears after three days.

Are doctors still recommending Elmiron?

Yes, doctors are still recommending Elmiron. This is the only drug approved by the FDA for treating interstitial cystitis.

What Elmiron Alternative Should You Take?

If you’ve been using Elmiron to treat IC, you should consider switching to an alternative. Don’t make the switch on your own, but consult your doctor. A medical professional can help you choose which alternative will relieve bladder inflammation most effectively for you.

This can be anything from tricyclic antidepressants and sacral nerve stimulation to surgery in some cases.

It’s also important to consult a lawyer if you’re diagnosed with retinal damage from taking Elmiron.

Schmidt & Clark, LLP lawyers have years of experience filing claims against large corporations, and we can help you with your Elmiron lawsuits. 

The sooner you contact us, the better your chances of getting damaged. Contact us for a free consultation today.