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NICE recommends pentosan polysulfate sodium for NHS treatment of bladder pain syndrome

Published on 10/10/19 at 10:43am

NICE has chosen to recommend pentosan polysulfate sodium, it has emerged, for use on the NHS in the treatment of bladder pain syndrome with glomerulations (bladder haemorrhages) or Hunner’s lesions (patches of inflammation) in adult patients whose condition has not responded to previous standard oral treatments.

The decision represents a U-turn on the institute’s rejection of the drug earlier this year over cost-effectiveness concerns. The submission of an updated patient access scheme from the manufacturer, enabling the drug to be made available at a confidential discount, and an agreement on the need to tackle unmet need in the disease has spurred NICE to reconsider.

Bladder pain syndrome, or interstitial cystitis as it is also known, affects around 40,000 patients in the UK with more women affected than men, and is characterised by chronic, intense pain and an urgent need to urinate, sometimes requiring up to 60 visits to the toilet per day.

There is currently no cure for the condition – symptoms are managed through the use of oral painkillers such as pregabalin or gabapentin. If these treatments do not work, patients can also be given bladder instillations, delivering drugs directly via catheter. It is thought that around 1,000 a year could benefit from access to the new treatment.

Matt Fellows

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