Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of oral cyclosporine A (CyA) in the treatment of refractory interstitial cystitis-bladder pain syndrome (IC-BPS) and to assess safety using drug level and renal function monitoring.
Materials and methods: Patients with IC-BPS who failed at least 2 prior treatments were enrolled in an open-label study of oral CyA. Medication was started at 3 mg/kg divided twice daily for 3 months. Dose was adjusted based on side effects and the drug level was measured 2 hours after the morning dose (C2). The primary end point was moderate or marked improvement of global response assessment or >50% improvement on the Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Index (ICSI) or Interstitial Cystitis Problem Index at 3 months.
Results: Twenty-two of 26 patients completed the 3-month follow-up; 18 completed the poststudy evaluation. The median symptom duration was 66 months (12-336). At 3 months, 31% (8/26) improved by global response assessment, 15% (4/26) had >50% improvement in the ICSI score, and 19% (5/26) had an improvement in the Interstitial Cystitis Problem Index score. Hunner lesions (HLs) predicted an improvement in the ICSI score (odds ratio = 15.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.7-224.6, P = .01), with 75% (3/4) of the responders having HL. Two patients withdrew because of hypertension or elevated serum glucose. The mean nuclear glomerular filtration rate declined at 3 months (98.9 ± 31.6 vs 84.2 ± 25.5 mL/min/1.73 m2, P = .01) and reversed to baseline after discontinuation of treatment. C2 levels did not correlate with symptoms but allowed dose reduction in 11 patients.
Conclusion: Per American Urological Association guidelines, CyA can be effective in a proportion of patients with refractory IC-BPS. Patients with HL are more likely to benefit. Monitoring of C2 rather than trough levels can lead to dose reduction, thereby minimizing toxicity.
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