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Pentosan (Elmiron) is a drug used for treating bladder pain caused by interstitial cystitis. The drug, which is a weak blood thinner, is believed to relieve bladder discomfort by helping to rebuild the mucous lining of the bladder. This product comes in the form of a capsule that is taken three times a day. Potential side effects may include hair loss, headache, and bruising.

What Is Pentosan?

Pentosan polysulfate sodium is a prescription medicine sold under the brand name Elmiron®. It is used to help relieve bladder pain or discomfort associated with interstitial cystitis (IC). Pentosan is the first and only oral medication to be approved by the FDA for this indication.
This drug has not been approved for use in children.

Side Effects

As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with pentosan. However, not everyone who takes pentosan will experience side effects. When people do develop pentosan side effects, though, in most cases they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by their healthcare provider.
Common side effects of pentosan (occurring in 1 percent to 4 percent of people) can include, but are not limited to:
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained rash
  • Bruising
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increases in liver enzymes
  • Dizziness.
(Click Elmiron Side Effects to learn more about the side effects of pentosan.)
Alternative Therapies for Pain Management
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