Tolterodine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
Advertisement

Generic Name:

tolterodine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Detrol
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for tolterodine

Oral tablet
1

Tolterodine is used to treat overactive bladder. With this condition, you cannot control your bladder muscle. This causes an urgent and frequent need to urinate.

2

Tolterodine comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet and an extended-release capsule. Both forms of the drug are taken by mouth.

3

The tolterodine tablet and capsule both have a generic version. They also have brand-name versions: the tablet is called Detrol, and the capsule is called Detrol LA.

4

Common side effects of tolterodine include dry mouth, dizziness, headache, vision problems, stomach pain, or constipation.

5

You shouldn’t take this drug if you have certain conditions. These include urinary retention, gastric retention, or uncontrolled glaucoma.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Serious allergic reaction (angioedema)

A serious allergic reaction can occur after the first few doses of this medication. If you have swelling in your throat or around your mouth, or have trouble breathing, go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1 right away.

Heart arrhythmia

This medication can cause a dangerous heart rhythm problem called torsades de pointes. This is more likely to occur in people:

  • whose bodies process this drug slowly (slow metabolizers)
  • who take doses of this drug that are higher than the typical dose
  • who are taking other medications that raise the risk of this kind of arrhythmia
  • who have an abnormal heartbeat called QT prolongation

If you have heart palpitations (fluttering heart) and feel dizzy or faint while taking this drug, go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1 right away.

Severe drowsiness

Drowsiness can occur when this medication is started, or when the dose is increased. Avoid driving or operating heavy equipment until you know how this medication affects you. If these symptoms continue, your dose may need to be lowered or you may need to stop taking this drug.

What is tolterodine?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral immediate-release tablet and an oral extended-release capsule. (An extended-release drug is released slowly into the bloodstream over time.)

This is a brand-name drug. The tablet is called Detrol, and the capsule is called Detrol LA. They both have a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat overactive bladder. Symptoms can include:

  • urge urinary incontinence: a strong need to urinate, with leaking or wetting accidents
  • urgency: a strong need to urinate right away
  • frequency: urinating more often than usual

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of medications called competitive muscarinic receptor antagonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug helps your body control the contractions (squeezing motions) of your bladder muscles. This helps prevent urine leakage, as well as the need to urinate urgently or very often.

Advertisement
SECTION 2 of 5

tolterodine Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of tolterodine include:

  • dry mouth

  • dizziness

  • headache

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • tiredness

  • vision problems

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Serious allergic reaction (angioedema). Symptoms can include:

    • swelling around the mouth
    • swelling of the throat
    • trouble breathing
  • Serious heart arrhythmia (called torsades de pointes). Symptoms can include:

    • heart palpitations
    • dizziness
    • fainting
  • Severe drowsiness

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug can cause blurred vision, dizziness, and drowsiness. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other tasks that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

tolterodine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Tolterodine can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antibiotics

When used with tolterodine, these drugs can increase the amount of tolterodine in your body. This raises the risk of side effects from tolterodine. These drugs include:

  • clarithromycin
  • erythromycin

Antifungal drugs

When used with tolterodine, these drugs can increase the amount of tolterodine in your body. This raises the risk of side effects from tolterodine. These drugs include:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole

Other drugs

Cyclosporine is used to treat several conditions. These include dry eye disease and myasthenia gravis. When used with tolterodine, cyclosporine can increase the amount of tolterodine in your body. This raises the risk of side effects from tolterodine.

Vinblastine is also used to treat several conditions. These include several types of cancer. When used with tolterodine, vinblastine can increase the amount of tolterodine in your body. This raises the risk of side effects from tolterodine.

Drugs that increase risk of arrhythmia

Tolterodine raises the risk of a dangerous arrhythmia (heart rhythm problem) called torsades de pointes. This risk is even higher when tolterodine is used with other drugs that also raise the risk of this arrhythmia. Some of these drugs include:

  • alfuzosin
  • chloroquine
  • oflxacin
  • dolasetron
  • droperidol
  • gemifloxacin
  • granisetron
  • ondansetron
  • quetiapine
  • risperidone
  • trazodone
  • varsdenafil

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
urinary retention
People with urinary retention

If you have trouble emptying your bladder or if you have a weak urine stream (urinary retention), this drug may make your condition worse. You shouldn’t take this drug if you have urinary retention.

gastric retention
People with gastric retention

If you have gastric retention (slowed emptying of the stomach), constipation, or other stomach or intestinal problems, this drug may make your condition worse. You shouldn’t use this drug if you have severe constipation or ulcerative colitis.

narrow-angle glaucoma
People with narrow-angle glaucoma

If you have an eye problem called narrow-angle glaucoma, this drug may make your condition worse. You shouldn’t use this drug if you have uncontrolled glaucoma.

abnormal heartbeat
People with an abnormal heartbeat

People with an abnormal heartbeat known as congenital or acquired QT prolongation are at higher risk of a dangerous heart arrhythmia called torsades de pointes. Tell your doctor if you have QT prolongation.

myasthenia gravis
People with myasthenia gravis

This drug can make this condition worse. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

liver problems
People with liver problems

This drug is processed by your liver. If you have liver problems, more of the drug may stay in your body longer, putting you at risk for side effects.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

This drug is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, more of this drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk and cause serious effects in a child who is breast-fed.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breast-feed. 

seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug in children younger than 18 years hasn’t been established.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

This drug may cause a serious allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • swelling of your face, lips, throat, or tongue
  • trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take tolterodine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Overactive bladder

Brand: Detrol

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg

Brand: Detrol LA

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg

Generic: tolterodine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg

Generic: tolterodine ER

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Immediate-release tablet: 2 mg taken by mouth two times per day
  • Extended-release capsule: 4 mg taken by mouth once per day
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

Liver and kidney problems: For people with poor liver or kidney function, the typical recommended dose of tolterodine is:

  • Immediate-release tablet: 1 mg taken by mouth two times per day
  • Extended-release capsule: 2 mg taken by mouth once per day

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take this drug at all, your symptoms of overactive bladder won’t get better.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • tiredness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours before the time for your next dose, wait and only take one dose at that time. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of overactive bladder should improve. You may no longer have a strong need to urinate or a need to urinate often.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
can be cut or crushed
The immediate-release tablet can be cut or crushed
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
travel
Travel
See Details
insurance
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store this drug at room temperature between 59°F (15°C) and 86°F (30°C).
  • Don’t freeze this drug.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does tolterodine Cost?

Oral tablet

We've partnered with GoodRx so you can compare prices, find discounts and save up to 80% on your next prescription. Check out the low coupon prices below — no insurance required.

Compare prices and save up to 80% on your next refill!

Lowest price for tolterodine

Walmart $47.76
Sams Club $47.76
Walgreens $83.13
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for tolterodine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for tolterodine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Pharmacia and Upjohn Co. (2014, October). Detrol- tolterodine tartrate tablet, film coated [package insert]. New York, NY.
  • Pharmacia and Upjohn Co. (2013, September). Detrol LA- tolterodine tartrate [package insert]. New York, NY.
  • Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2012, July). Tolterodine Tartrate- tolterodine tartrate tablet, film coated [package insert]. Morgantown, WV.
  • Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2013, December). Tolterodine Tartrate- tolterodine tartrate capsule, extended release [package insert]. Morgantown, WV. 

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement