IP 751, a potent synthetic analog of a metabolite of THC-the principal active ingredient of marijuana-effectively suppresses pain and bladder overactivity in hypersensitive bladder disorders such as interstitial cystitis (IC), according to animal model study results presented at the annual meeting of the International Continence Society.
IP 751 is a potent anti-inflammatory and a powerful analgesic, although the mechanisms by which it works are unknown.
For the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine injected IP 751 into rat models of acute and subacute bladder inflammation. IP 751 significantly suppressed bladder overactivity in both animal models without affecting bladder contractility. By doing this, IP 751 can ease bladder pain. By stopping the underlying cause of irritation - overactivity of the bladder - IP 751 is able to eliminate the associated pain.
"Interstitial cystitis is a difficult disease to treat, and not all treatments work well on all patients," said Michael Chancellor, M.D., professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Any new option we can give our patients to alleviate their painful symptoms is very exciting."
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 700,000 Americans have IC; 90 percent are women. IC is one of the chronic pelvic pain disorders, defined by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region. Symptoms vary and can include any combination of mild to severe pain, pressure and tenderness in the bladder and pelvic area; and an urgent and/or frequent need to urinate. In IC, the bladder wall may become scarred or irritated, and pinpoint bleeding may appear on the bladder wall.