Topical Medicines


Medicines that are applied topically as gels, creams, suppositories and patches, may cause fewer systemic side effects. Used alone or in combination formulas, these medicines sometimes require the expertise of a compounding pharmacist. Examples of topicals used to treat IC symptoms include:

  • Lidocaine patch (Lidoderm): Some patients report success with the patch form of the anesthetic (numbing agent) Lidocaine, which is available by prescription in an adhesive patch.
  • Vaginal and rectal diazepam (Valium) suppositories: Vaginal diazepam for women with IC and rectal diazepam for men with IC offer alternatives to oral Valium. Available by prescription through compounding pharmacies, these suppositories relax the muscles in the pelvic floor. The tablet form of Valium inserted into the vagina or rectum seems to work as effectively as the compounded formula.
  • Topical amitriptyline (Elavil): Oral amitriptyline is a standard IC therapy. In gel form, applied to the skin, Elavil may offer relief without the unwanted side effects of the oral medicine.

Revised January 12, 2010