In cats which treatment, meloxicam or prednisolone, most quickly reduces clinical signs of feline interstitial cystitis?



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PICO question

In cats with feline interstitial cystitis, which therapy brings a faster resolution of clinical signs: meloxicam or prednisolone?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Two papers evaluated as relevant to the PICO question were critically reviewed. Both were double-blinded randomised controlled trials.

One paper not related to the PICO question, a single-blinded randomised controlled trial, was also reviewed as it is touched upon in the discussion section

Strength of evidence

Appraisal of the literature reveals weak evidence that meloxicam and prednisolone are of equivalent effectiveness when treating feline interstitial cystitis, also known as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)

Outcomes reported

There is no statistically significant difference in the reduction of clinical signs when meloxicam is compared with a placebo for the treatment of FIC. There is no statistically significant difference in reduction of clinical signs when prednisolone is compared with a placebo for the treatment of FIC. No studies were available for review which directly compared meloxicam against prednisolone as treatment options for FIC


In cats with FIC, insufficient evidence exists to truly conclude whether meloxicam or prednisolone is the most efficacious therapy for the reduction of clinical signs. Two double-blinded randomised controlled trials were evaluated – one compared the efficacy of meloxicam against a placebo; the other compared the efficacy of prednisolone against a placebo. Neither study found a statistically significant difference between the assessed treatment modality and the placebo used in reducing the clinical signs of FIC. As such, weak evidence exists that there is no significant difference between the use of meloxicam and a placebo, and prednisolone and a placebo in the reduction of clinical signs of FIC. Additionally, it could therefore be hypothesised that no significant difference exists in the reduction of clinical signs when comparing meloxicam against prednisolone as treatments for FIC however, no study was discoverable which was able to substantiate this claim


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed


Carroll, G.L., Narbe, R., Kerwin, S.C., Taylor, L., Peterson, K. & Hartsfield, S.M. (2011). Dose range finding study for the efficacy of meloxicam administered prior to sodium urate-induced synovitis in cats. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 38(4), 394–406. DOI:

Dorsch, R., Zellner, F. & Schulz, B. (2016). Evaluation of meloxicam for the treatment of obstructive feline idiopathic cystitis. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 18(11), 925–933. DOI:

Dowling, P.M. (2000). Potential therapies for recurrent idiopathic cystitis in cats. Veterinary Medicine. 95(7), 512–515.

Nivy, R., Segev, G., Rimer, D., Bruchim, Y., Aroch, I. & Mazaki-Tovi, M. (2019). A prospective randomized study of efficacy of 2 treatment protocols in preventing recurrence of clinical signs in 51 male cats with obstructive idiopathic cystitis. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 33(5), 2117–2123. DOI:

Osborne, C.A., Kruger, J.M., Lulich, J.P., Johnston, G.R., Polzin, D.J., Ulrich, L.K. & Sanna, J. (1996). Prednisolone therapy of idiopathic feline lower urinary tract disease. A double-blind clinical study. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Practice. 26(3), 563–569. DOI:

Osborne, C.A., Polzin, D.J., Klausner, J.S. & Kruger, J.M. (1984). Medical management of male and female cats with nonobstructive lower urinary tract disease. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 14(3), 617–640. DOI:

RCVS Knowledge. (2015). EBVM Toolkit 3 - Introduction to "Levels of evidence" and Study Design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr 2020].

Vol. 7 No. 1 (2022): The first issue of 2022

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  / 

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