Urology of Greater Atlanta

Medications for Interstitial Cystitis

Chronic pain or constant pressure in your bladder or pelvic area could be a sign that you are suffering from interstitial cystitis (IC). According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, it is a form of bladder pain syndrome (BPS) that affects as many as 4 -12 million people.

At Urology of Greater Atlanta, the team of board-certified urologists has the expertise to accurately diagnose and treat this painful condition. It is important that you get a professional diagnosis as it is often confused with a urinary tract infection. Call us or request an appointment online today for an IC consultation.

While there is no cure for interstitial cystitis, treatment aims to reduce bladder pain, pelvic pain and reduce inflammation. Your health care provider may use up to two different approaches to provide symptom relief; oral medications and bladder instillations.

To perform a bladder instillation, your provider will insert a tube called a catheter into your bladder through your urethra and slowly add a liquid that will ease the irritation of the bladder wall.

Expert urologists will use medications when lifestyle changes, such as bladder training or an interstitial cystitis diet planare not enough to reduce interstitial cystitis symptoms. In most cases, a combination of both methods will provide adequate symptom control.

This article will focus on oral medications that can be used to treat interstitial cystitis. To find out more about bladder instillations, see our other article, which gives more details.

Oral Medications Used to Treat Interstitial Cystitis

Some oral medications that can help control IC symptoms are:


If you have mild to moderate pain, over-the-counter medications can offer sufficient pain relief. You could try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or aspirin.


Antihistamines help reduce bladder inflammation as well as nighttime voiding and urinary frequency. Antihistamines include medications such as hydroxyzine (Vistaril or Atarax).

They work by blocking the mast cells’ release of histamine, which contributes to inflammation in the bladder. Antihistamines are usually best to take at bedtime because they can cause drowsiness.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are the most common medication prescribed for interstitial cystitis. Given in small doses, they help relax the bladder and reduce the release of neurochemicals that cause bladder pain and inflammation. The medication may also improve sleep.

Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium (Elmironⓡ)

Elmiron is the only oral drug that the FDA approves for the specific purpose of treating interstitial cystitis. It helps by improving the bladder lining. Improvements may not be fully seen until 3 to 6 months. However, this medication has some rare side effects, including reversible hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, and rash.

Contact Us

Don’t let IC symptoms dictate your life. Make an appointment to consult with the talented team at Urology of Greater Atlanta by calling the practice or booking online. At Urology of Greater Atlanta, we have helped many women through Greater Atlanta manage or overcome interstitial cystitis.

Depending on the severity of your condition, your treatment could be as simple as changing your dietary habits or taking medication. So don’t hesitate to speak to us today.

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