Intravesical capsaicin as a treatment for refractory detrusor hyperreflexia: a dual center study with long-term followup

J Urol. 1997 Dec;158(6):2087-92. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(01)68162-x.


Purpose: We described the long-term outcome of intravesical capsaicin instillations in patients with urinary incontinence and compared its efficacy in 2 similar populations of patients with multiple sclerosis in a dual center study.

Materials and methods: During 5 years 79 patients with intractable urinary incontinence have been treated with intravesical capsaicin. The majority of patients had spinal cord disease due to multiple sclerosis but 4 were neurologically normal. Cystometry was performed before and 4 to 6 weeks after intravesical instillation of 1 to 2 mmol./l. of capsaicin in 30% ethanol in saline. Instillations of vehicle (30% ethanol in saline) alone were carried out in 5 patients.

Results: In patients with phasic detrusor hyperreflexia complete continence was achieved in 44%, satisfactory improvement occurred in 36% and treatment failed in 20%. Clinical benefit from a single instillation lasted 3 to 6 months and was repeated in some patients with similar improvement. Capsaicin was ineffective in patients with poor bladder compliance and in neurologically normal patients with sensory urgency and detrusor instability. There was no clinical or urodynamic improvement in patients treated with vehicle alone. There have been no long-term complications.

Conclusions: Our study shows that repeated instillations of intravesical capsaicin are effective in treatment of patients with detrusor hyperreflexia due to spinal cord disease and that effectiveness of the treatment persists at least 3 to 5 years.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reflex, Abnormal*
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Incontinence / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urodynamics


  • Capsaicin