Current Pharmacologic Approaches in Painful Bladder Research: An Update

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis (IC)/bladder pain syndrome (BPS) may have multiple causes and involve many contributing factors. Traditional treatments (intravesical instillations) have had a primary focus on the bladder as origin of symptoms without adequately considering the potential influence of other local (pelvic) or systemic factors. Systemic pharmacological treatments have had modest success. A contributing factor to the low efficacy is the lack of phenotyping the patients. Individualized treatment based on is desirable, but further phenotype categorization is needed. There seems to be general agreement that IC is a unique disease and that BPS is a syndrome with multiple pathophysiologies, but this has so far not been not been well reflected in preclinical research with the aim of finding new pharmacological treatments. Current research approaches, including anti-nerve growth factor treatment, anti-tumor necrosis factor-α treatment, activation of SHIP1 (AQX-1125), and P2X3 receptor antagonists, and α1-adrenoceptor antagonists are potential systemic treatments, implying that not only the bladder is exposed to the administered drug, which may be beneficial if the IC/BPS is a bladder manifestation of a systemic disease, or negative (adverse effects) if it is a local bladder condition. Local treatment approaches such as the antagonism of Toll-like receptors (which still is only experimental) and intravesical liposomes (with positive proof-of-concept), may have the advantages of a low number of systemic adverse effects, but cannot be expected to have effects on symptoms generated outside the bladder. Assessment of which of the treatment approaches discussed in this review that can be developed into useful therapies requires further studies.

International neurourology journal. 2017 Dec 31 [Epub]

Karl-Erik Andersson, Lori Birder

Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC, USA., Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

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