Brand Name(s):
  • Elmiron®
WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Pentosan polysulfate is used to relieve bladder pain and discomfort related to interstitial cystitis, a disease that causes swelling and scarring of the bladder wall. Pentosan polysulfate is similar to a class of medications called low molecular weight heparins. It works by preventing irritation of the bladder walls.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Pentosan polysulfate comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken with water three times a day, 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pentosan polysulfate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before taking pentosan polysulfate,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pentosan polysulfate, danaparoid (Orgaran), heparin, or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had an aneurysm, hemophilia, ulcers, low platelet count, an intestinal blockage, or liver or spleen disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking pentosan polysulfate, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking pentosan polysulfate.
  • you should know that pentosan polysulfate has a blood-thinning effect and may cause increased bleeding.
What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Pentosan polysulfate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • hair loss
  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach
  • heartburn
  • headache
  • rash
  • stomach pain
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • moodiness
  • dizziness

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • nosebleed
  • heavy gum bleeding
  • black and tarry stools
  • red blood in stools
  • bloody vomit
  • vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds

Pentosan polysulfate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will examine you after 3 months to see if your symptoms have improved.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: February 11, 2012.