Last updated on June 2005

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis (IC) Symptoms


Brief description of study

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been in existence for more than a thousand years. This clinical trial performs two types of acupuncture on traditional 'bladder' points to determine if one type demonstrates improvement over the other. In the first type needles stimulate acupuncture points on the skin, and in the second type the needles penetrate through the skin similar to how acupuncture is usually performed. The technique is done through shields so that people will not know what type of acupuncture they receive. Patients must have at least moderately severe disease as determined by a urologist. They must be willing not to change their medical regimen for the duration of the trial. Patients will receive twelve treatments over six to twelve weeks. They will be asked to fill out symptom questionnaires and bladder diaries at regular intervals to monitor change. All treatment is free of charge, and patients who complete the trial will receive a small stipend.

Detailed Study Description

Patients eligible for enrollment include: - Age 18-65 years - Symptomatic IC for at least six months - Urinary frequency of at least eleven voids in a 24 hour period - A self-rated global discomfort score of 4 or greater on a 0-10 scale Patients may not be enrolled who have a history of chronic bladder disease or pelvic disease including cancer, calculi, infection or complications of nervous system disease or diabetes. They must be on no blood thinning agents or have had any recent medication changes or bladder procedures. After screening physical examination and history-taking, patients will be asked to fill out standard symptom questionnaires. They will be given a bladder diary to fill out for the 24 hours prior to their first acupuncture treatment which will be scheduled within a week. Patients will be asked to return from once- to twice-weekly for a total of twelve treatments. Patients will complete a bladder diary before each treatment and a questionnaire form before every other visit. The same questionnaire will be used at the exit interview after the last treatment, and a final time four weeks after the last treatment. This is because we are interested in the duration of potential benefit from acupuncture treatment. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. All acupuncture will be performed through plastic shields so that the patient does not know which group he or she has been assigned to. In the first type of acupuncture, retractable needles are used such that the patient feels a pin sensation but there is no penetration of the epidermis. In the second type, non-retractable needles penetrate the acupuncture points into deeper tissue. It is not known whether deeper penetration is required for acupuncture to work, or if acupuncture is of benefit at all for this condition.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT00094874

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