Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A or Botox) is one of several experimental therapies currently in use for the treatment of IC, neurogenic and overactive bladder. Botox can be injected into the bladder wall or used as a bladder instillation. It is believed to block the sensory nerves in the bladder that triggers some of our symptoms, such as pain, frequency, urgency and inflammation.
The use of Botox as a therapy for interstitial cystitis is suggested by the American Urology Association in their 2010 Guidelines to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis. It is suggested as a “Fifth Line” treatment to be used only after patients have tried and not responded to other therapies. Botox is not approved for the treatment of IC by the US FDA.
Although the effects of Botox will only last a few months, there is one key risk. It may temporarily remove the ability of a patient to empty their bladder voluntarily thus the only patients who should be considered for use with Botox are those who are willing to, and/or can be taught to, self-catheterize should that occur.