Elmiron® (Pentosan polysulfate)
Pentosan polysulfate is a polymeric compound that was originally studied as a possible oral anticoagulant acting similarly to heparin. It proved ineffective as an anticoagulant, but Dr. Lowell Parsons, a urologist and researcher at UCSD, discovered that it was useful as a treatment for interstitial cystitis, a bladder condition that leads to bladder pain syndrome (BPS). Dr. Parsons hypothesized that the symptoms of BPS were a result of injury to the mucosal lining of the bladder, and that pentosan polysulfate might bind to the mucosal lining and protect it. This worked, and the drug, approved by the FDA in 1996, replaced prior treatments involving harsh medications or surgery. Elmira now provides long-term relieve from bladder pain in a large patient population.