Interstitial cystitis is primarily a disease of middle-aged women and is characterized by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region. Symptoms vary and can include a combination of mild to severe pain, pressure and tenderness in the bladder and pelvic area; and an urgent and/or frequent need to urinate. Additionally, the bladder wall may become scarred or irritated, and pinpoint bleeding may appear on the bladder wall.
There appears to be no definitive treatment for interstitial cystitis. The therapy usually employed frequently affords partial relief, but it may be completely ineffective.
"Interstitial cystitis is a difficult disease to treat, and not all treatments work well on all patients," said Michael Chancellor, M.D., professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Any new option we can give our patients to alleviate their painful symptoms is very exciting."
General treatment involves the prescription of sedatives but seldom afford relief. Associated urinary infection is treated with appropriate antibiotics. Most patients respond to the conservative management. Persistent symptoms may require surgical intervention.
IP 751, the principal active ingredient of marijuana has been found to effectively suppress pain and bladder over activity in hypersensitive bladder disorders such as interstitial cystitis (IC). However, the study has been conducted only on animal models.
IP 751 is a potent anti-inflammatory and a powerful analgesic, although the mechanisms by which it works are unknown.
IP 751 was injected into rat models of acute and subacute bladder inflammation. IP 751 significantly suppressed bladder over activity in both animal models without affecting bladder contractility. By stopping the underlying cause of irritation - over activity of the bladder - IP 751 is able to eliminate the associated pain.
Perhaps more randomized trials in human beings could offer a new hope for the disease in the future.