Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for chronic neuropathic pain in patients with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis

To evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) associated with standard drug therapies for neuropathic pain that does not respond to pharmacological treatment alone in patients with Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis (BPS/IC). Secondary goals were to assess the effects of rTMS on Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) and Quality of Life (QOL).

Fifteen patients with BPS/IC were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, sham stimulation-controlled, crossover study. Patients were treated for 2 weeks with either real-rTMS (for five consecutive days in 20-min sessions) or sham-rTMS (for five consecutive days in 20-min sessions). After a 6-week washout period, the patients who had previously undergone real-rTMS underwent sham-rTMS, and vice versa. Patients were rated at each visit by means of questionnaires on pain, urinary disturbances, depression, and QOL.

The statistical analysis revealed significant effects of real-rTMS, when compared with sham-rTMS, on pain (in the VAS, Functional Neuropathic Pelvic Pain, Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory, McGill questionnaire, and Central Sensitization Inventory), urinary LUTS (in the Overactive Bladder Questionnaire score, bladder emptying, and daily urinary frequency), and QOL (in the subscores of the SF-36 related to physical pain and to emotional status). No serious adverse events were reported during the study.

The results of this study show that rTMS applied with an H-coil over the M1 in the area corresponding to the pelvic region in patients with BPS/IC appears to improve chronic pelvic pain (CPP) and associated urinary disorders.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2018 May 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Mauro Cervigni, Emanuela Onesti, Marco Ceccanti, Maria C Gori, Giorgio Tartaglia, Giuseppe Campagna, Giovanni Panico, Lorenzo Vacca, Chiara Cambieri, Laura Libonati, Maurizio Inghilleri

Department of Women's Health and Newborns, Interstitial Cystitis Referral Center, University Hospital Foundation A. Gemelli, Rome, Italy., Department of Human Neuroscience, Rare Neuromuscular Diseases Centre, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.