The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended pentosan polysulfate sodium for treating bladder pain syndrome with glomerulations (bladder haemorrhages) or Hunner’s lesions (patches of inflammation).
The drug will be available to adults if their condition has not responded to previous standard oral treatments.
Bladder pain syndrome, also known as interstitial cystitis, is a chronic bladder condition characterised by intense pain and an urgent need to urinate. Approximately 40,000 people in the UK have the condition which is more common in women than men.
The condition can severely affect quality of life and can be difficult to manage with some patients needing to use the toilet up to 60 times a day. Current treatments include oral painkillers such as pregabalin or gabapentin which are aimed at controlling symptoms as there is currently no cure.
Bladder instillations may be given if symptoms have not improved with standard oral treatment. This method involves administering drugs via catheter directly into the bladder. however, this can be invasive and cause adverse side-effects.
Earlier in 2019, NICE made the decision not to recommend the drug after it was not considered cost-effective. Since draft, an updated patient access scheme has been submitted by the company. This means that the drug is available to the NHS with a confidential discount. Additionally, it was agreed that there is an unmet need for effective treatment options therefore the drug received a positive recommendation.
Since pentosan polysulfate sodium can be taken orally, this option is non-invasive and has fewer adverse side-effects than bladder instillations. The drug has been recommended as an option for treatment in secondary care which could benefit approximately 1000 people a year.