Interstitial cystitis is a chronic, painful inflammatory condition of the bladder wall. It typically affects young and middle-aged women , but can also affect men. Investigators are testing the bacteria Bacillus Calmette-Guerin(BCG), which from earlier studies was found to be effective in treating interstitial cystitis, by inserting six installations into the bladders of patients through a catheter. An earlier pilot study of BCG also showed that 60 percent of patients responded well compared to only 27 percent in a placebo group.
Interstitial cystitis is a condition whose causes are not clearly known and hence treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. In 1996, Elmiron® (pentosan polysulfate sodium), the first oral drug developed for interstitial cystitis, was approved by the FDA. An earlier trial also found that Elmiron combined with hydroxyzine was more effective than either drug alone or no treatment at all.