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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1998 Nov 1;213(9):1282-6.

Amitriptyline treatment for severe recurrent idiopathic cystitis in cats.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



To evaluate the safety and efficacy of amitriptyline hydrochloride in the treatment of severe recurrent idiopathic cystitis (IC) in cats.


Prospective study.


15 cats with IC that failed to respond to other treatments.


Each cat received 10 mg of amitriptyline, PO, every 24 hours in the evening for 12 months or until signs recurred. Urinalysis, CBC, serum biochemical analysis, urine bacteriologic culture, and cystoscopy were performed initially, and after 6 and 12 months in responders. Severity scores of owner-observed signs of lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) disease were recorded.


During the first 6 months of treatment, 11 of the 15 cats had no owner-observed signs of lower urinary tract disease. During the next 6 months, 9 of 15 cats remained free of signs of cystitis. Despite clinical improvement, cystoscopic abnormalities persisted in all cats at the 6- and 12-month evaluations. Hematuria and proteinuria were decreased at the 12-month evaluation compared with the initial evaluation. Two of 15 cats initially appeared somnolent after amitriptyline treatment. Of 9 cats completing the study, 7 had increased body weight and 8 had decreased coat quality compared with the initial evaluations. Four cats developed small cystic calculi during the first 6 months of the study. Serum biochemical or hematologic abnormalities were not detected during the study.


Amitriptyline treatment successfully decreased clinical signs of severe recurrent IC in 9 of 15 cats treated. Somnolence, weight gain, decreased grooming, and transient cystic calculi were observed during treatment in some cats.

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