Treatment for patients with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is always challenging for urologists. The main mechanism of the botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) is inhibition of muscle contraction, but the indirect sensory modulation and anti-inflammatory effect in the bladder also play important roles in treating patients with IC/BPS. Although current guidelines consider BoNT-A injection to be a standard treatment, some practical issues remain debatable. Most clinical evidence of this treatment comes from retrospective uncontrolled studies, and only two randomized placebo-control studies with limited patient numbers have been published. Although 100 U BoNT-A is effective for most patients with IC/BPS, the potential efficacy of 200 U BoNT-A has not been evaluated. Both trigone and diffuse body BoNT-A injections are effective and safe for IC/BPS, although comparison studies are lacking. For IC/BPS patients with Hunner’s lesion, the efficacy of BoNT-A injection remains controversial. Most patients with IC/BPS experience symptomatic relapse at six to nine months after a BoNT-A injection, although repeated injections exhibit a persistent therapeutic effect in long-term follow-up. Further randomized placebo-controlled studies with a larger number of patients are needed to support BoNT-A as standard treatment for patients with IC/BPS.
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