Pain reduction realized with extracorporeal shock wave therapy for the treatment of symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome-A prospective, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Neurourol Urodyn. 2020 Jun;39(5):1505-1514. doi: 10.1002/nau.24382. Epub 2020 May 11.


Aims: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) inhibited bladder inflammation and pain in preclinical studies. We assessed ESWT for the treatment of refractory interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS).

Methods: This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled physician-initiated study enrolled 54 patients with IC/BPS. The patients were assigned to ESWT (N = 24; 2000 shocks, frequency of 3 Hz, and maximum total energy flow density 0.25 mJ/mm2 ) once a week for 4 weeks at suprapubic bladder area or placebo (N = 25; shock wave setting without energy transmission). The primary endpoint was the average changes in O'Leary-Sant symptom scores (OSS) between baseline and 4 weeks after treatment. Secondary endpoints included visual analog scale (VAS, 0-10) for pain, the average changes of variables in a 3-day voiding diary, and global response assessment of patient satisfaction.

Results: At 4 weeks posttreatment, both groups were associated with a statistically significant decrease in OSS and VAS pain scale. However, there were no difference in mean change between ESWT vs placebo groups. A significantly higher proportion of patients on ESWT responded as improved in the VAS ≥ 3 vs placebo (P = .035). At 12 weeks posttreatment, improvement in the VAS ≥ 3 was 57.1% vs 19.0% (ESWT vs placebo; P = .011). The finding was associated with an improvement in frequency - 1.0 ± 2.3 vs 0.7 ± 3.2 (ESWT vs placebo; P = .065). No significant adverse events were found in either group.

Conclusions: A reduction in pain was discovered in this trial assessing ESWT in patients with IC/BPS but OSS, which was the primary outcome parameter, was not improved.

Keywords: bladder pain syndrome; interstitial cystitis; shock wave.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cystitis, Interstitial / complications
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urination / physiology*