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Tibial Nerve Stimulation Fails as a Treatment for IC/BPS in This 20-Patient Study

Ragab M, Tawfik A, Abo Elenen M, Elnady M, Elgamal O, Elkordy M, Gameel T, Rasheed M. Evaluation of percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation for treatment of refractory painful bladder syndrome. Urology. 2015 Jul 15. pii: S0090-4295(15)00646-9. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2015.06.041. [Epub ahead of print]

While some types of nerve stimulation has shown promise in the treatment of bladder issues and pelvic pain, this recent report suggests that a method known as intermittent percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) may not be satisfactory as a treatment for patients with refractory interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). The study included 20 female patients with IC/BPS who underwent 30-minute PTNS sessions once weekly for 12 weeks total. Unfortunately, there was no significant improvement in IC/BPS-related symptoms and problems. Almost all the patients (85%) said the treatment had no effect, and only 2 (10%) said they had a good response, which they described as mild. Despite these results, investigators aren’t ready to rule out PTNS just yet; they suggest that they might improve the efficacy by changing the way the treatment is delivered (e.g., sessions closer together).