At this time there is no cure for interstitial cystitis (IC). There are, however, many available treatment options to help relieve the symptoms of bladder pain, urgency, and frequency.

For most people with IC, a combination of treatments is the best approach. Finding the optimal individual treatment protocol may also require a period of trial and error. IC treatments may include:

IC Pain Medicines

OTC Medicines

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • NSAIDs
  • Ibuprofen
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen sodium

Non-Narcotic Pain Medicines

  • Urelle Oral
  • Uribel
  • Utira

Topical Medicines

  • Lidocaine patch
  • Vaginal and rectal diazepam
  • Topical amitriptyline

Narcotic Pain Medicines

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Tapentadol

IC Diet & Self Management

Ways to help control symptoms: diet modification, bladder retraining, stress management, and healthy sleep habits.

Different approaches to the IC diet: allergy testing, gluten-free diets, IC Food List, antiyeast therapy, alkaline diets, nutrition supplements, and IC-friendly recipes.

Physical Therapy

Learn about hands-on therapy and tools PTs use. Also get tips on how to find a knowledgeable PT and pay for therapy.


Learn about tricyclics (amitriptyline aka Elavil), SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil), SNRIs (Cymbalta), NRIs (Strattera), and bupropion (Wellbutrin).


Hydroxyzine is most widely used; however, some people with IC find relieve from Claritin, Benadryl, and Singulair.

Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium

Pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron) is the only oral medicine that is FDA approved for IC.

Bladder Instillations

Bladder instillations are mixtures of medicines put directly into the bladder. Read about DMSO, Sodium Hyaluronate, Heparin, and cocktails.


Read about Cyclosporine, Mycophenolate (CellCept), and Mycophenolate mofetil as potential IC treatments.

Bringing New Treatments
To Market

Ever wonder why it seems to take such a long time for new IC medications to become available? Here’s the scoop!

Surgical Procedures

Laser surgery is helpful for Hunner’s Ulcers. Other bladder surgeries—such as cystoscopy with hydrodistention—are considered a treatment of last resort.


Electrical nerve stimulators, also known as neuromodulators, have been helpful for many IC patients—products include UrgentPC, InterStim, Eon Mino, and IF3WAVE.

Other Medicines

IC treatment protocols may also include lots of other medicines such as alpha blockers (Flomax), amphetamines, anti-seizure meds (Neurontin), histamine blockers (Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid), leukotriene inhibitors, prostaglandins (NSAIDS, ibuprofen), urinary antacids (potassium or sodium citrate, tricitrates), and urinary tract antispasmodics (Detrol, Toviaz, VESIcare).

Over-the-counter Medicines

Medicines that do not require a prescription might include aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDs, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen sodium.

Learn more about IC therapies:

Revised Thursday, April 22nd, 2021