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Urology. 2005 Jan;65(1):45-8.

Successful downregulation of bladder sensory nerves with combination of heparin and alkalinized lidocaine in patients with interstitial cystitis.

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  • 1Division of Urology, University of California, San Diego, Medical Center, San Diego, California 92103-8897, USA.



To test the efficacy of a new intravesical therapeutic solution in relieving urgency/frequency and pain in interstitial cystitis (IC).


A solution of 40,000 U heparin, 8 mL 1% lidocaine (80 mg; group 1) or 2% lidocaine (160 mg; group 2), and 3 mL 8.4% sodium bicarbonate was administered intravesically in patients with newly diagnosed IC with significant frequency, urgency, and pain. Using the Patient Overall Rating of Improvement of Symptoms, the response to treatment was evaluated within 20 minutes of instillation in all patients, after 24 to 48 hours in group 2, and after three treatments per week for 2 weeks in group 2 patients who elected to receive additional instillations. Significant symptom relief was defined as 50% or greater symptom improvement.


After one instillation, 35 (75%) of 47 patients in group 1 (1% lidocaine) and 33 (94%) of 35 in group 2 (2% lidocaine) reported significant immediate symptom relief. The difference in the response rates was statistically significant (P <0.01). In group 2, 50% of the subjects experienced at least 4 hours of symptom relief from the single instillation, and 16 (80%) of 20 reported significant sustained symptom relief after 2 weeks of treatment.


Intravesical treatment with combined heparin and alkalinized lidocaine immediately reduced the pain and urgency of IC in most patients treated for newly diagnosed IC. Symptom relief lasted beyond the duration of the local anesthetic activity of lidocaine, suggesting the solution suppresses neurologic upregulation. In IC treatment, this new intravesical solution may be helpful in the interval before heparinoid therapy reaches its full effect.

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