NIH study to test antidepressant for interstitial cystitis

March 2, 2005

A new National Institutes of Health-funded study is recruiting adults newly diagnosed with either painful bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis to determine if the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil) will reduce the pain and frequent urination associated with the conditions.

A new National Institutes of Health-funded study is recruiting adults newly diagnosed with either painful bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis to determine if the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil) will reduce the pain and frequent urination associated with the conditions.

Two-hundred-seventy participants will be randomly assigned to take amitriptyline, 75 mg, or a placebo every day for 14 to 26 weeks. All will practice suppressing the urge to urinate for increasingly longer stretches until they can wait 3 or 4 hours before going to the bathroom.

Prior small studies suggest the drug may be useful for interstitial cystitis because it blocks nerve signals that trigger pain and may also decrease muscle spasms in the bladder, which helps to reduce pain and frequent urination.

The 10 enrolling medical centers make up the Interstitial Cystitis Clinical Research Network, sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at NIH.