Objectives: To evaluate the frequency and types of treatments reported at baseline in women who entered the Interstitial Cystitis Data Base (ICDB) cohort study.
Methods: From 1993 to 1997, 581 women were enrolled and followed in the ICDB. All treatments reported at study entry, including those prescribed for interstitial cystitis (IC) and concomitant medications, were reviewed. The number and types of treatments were evaluated with respect to baseline factors such as prior diagnosis of IC and symptom severity.
Results: One hundred five (18%) women were receiving no therapy at baseline. Single-mode therapy was reported by 195 (34%) women, and a combination of two treatments was reported by 119 (21%) women. Three or more treatments were reported in 162 (28%) women. A total of 183 different types of therapies were recorded. The five most commonly used therapies for IC symptoms were cystoscopy and hydrodistention, amitriptyline, phenazopyridine, special diet, and intravesical heparin. Because most patients entered the ICDB before the approval of oral pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS), only 6% of women reported oral PPS use at baseline. There were statistically significant associations between the number and types of treatments and clinical center, a prior diagnosis of IC, and symptom severity.
Conclusions: The diversity of IC therapies underscores the lack of understanding about the treatment of this syndrome. Further research in IC is essential to develop and to evaluate rational therapies and treatment algorithms. These algorithms should be "evidence based" and should be revised as the underlying etiology and pathophysiology of IC is delineated.