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Common Name:

pentosan polysulfate


How does the Elmiron medication work? What will it do for me?

Pentosan polysulfate is used for the initial and maintenance treatment of interstitial cystitis (an inflammation in the bladder). It works by acting like a natural substance in the wall of the bladder that is needed to prevent the pain and discomfort associated with interstitial cystitis.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does the Elmiron medication come in?

Each white, opaque, hard gelatin capsule, imprinted with "BNP 7600" contains 100 mg of pentosan polysulfate. Nonmedicinal ingredients: gelatin, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and titanium dioxide.

How should I use the Elmiron medication?

The recommended adult dose of pentosan polysulfate is 100 mg three times daily with water, at least one hour before or 2 hours after meals. Some people may require 6 to 8 weeks of treatment to achieve relief of symptoms. You may need to take this medication for long periods of time to prevent the return of symptoms.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take the Elmiron medication?

Do not take this medication if you are

  • allergic to pentosan polysulfate, its related compounds, or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with the Elmiron medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dryness of throat
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • itching
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • rash
  • sores in mouth
  • stomach gas
  • stomach upset

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • bleeding gums
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • nosebleed
  • rectal bleeding
  • skin rash or hives
  • sore throat
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for the Elmiron medication?

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.


December 15, 2020

Health Canada has issued new restrictions concerning the use of pentosan polysulfate sodium. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada’s web site at

Bleeding tendencies: This medication may increase the risk of bleeding for people who are at high risk (e.g., they take medications that increase bleeding risk or have medical conditions such as bleeding ulcers or diverticulitis). Be sure to tell your doctor if you are at increased risk of bleeding before starting this medication.

Pregnancy: The safety of pentosan polysulfate use by pregnant women has not been established. This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: It is not known whether pentosan polysulfate passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of pentosan polysulfate for children and adolescents younger than 18 years has not been established. Its use by this age group is not recommended.

What other drugs could interact with the Elmiron medication?

There may be an interaction between pentosan polysulfate and any of the following:

  • alteplase (t-PA)
  • ASA (acetylsalicylic acid)
  • dabigatran
  • heparin
  • streptokinase
  • ticlopidine
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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