One of the most common ways to treat overactive bladder is by using medication. You should talk to your doctor about your options and ask questions about the benefits and possible side effects of overactive bladder drugs.
Anticholingerics help treat overactive bladder by affecting the nerve function of the bladder muscle (detrusor) to relax. This helps reduce urinary urgency. Anticholingerics are commonly taken orally or applied as a patch or topical gel. There are different dosages to help with different severities of OAB. Some can be taken multiple times daily or a couple times a week. The patch form can be placed on the abdomen, stomach, or buttocks.
- Darifenacin (Enablex)
- Fesoterodine (Toviaz)
- Flavoxate (Urispas)
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Gelnique, Oxytrol, Urotrol)
- Solifenacin (Vesicare)
- Tolterodine (Detrol)
- Trospium (Sanctura)
Side effects may vary, but it is very common for these medications to cause dry mouth. Other potential side effects include dry eyes or throat, constipation, blurred vision, and increased heart rate.
Imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, is sometimes prescribed for OAB because it can help relax the smooth muscle of the bladder and cause the bladder neck to contract. Imipramine has been approved by the FDA for other uses but not for the treatment of OAB.
Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox)
Recent studies have shown that Botox injections into the bladder can significantly decrease OAB symptoms and can also improve bladder capacity and the ability to empty the bladder. Research varies as to the dosage and duration of relief, but the findings are promising for those who do not respond to anticholinergics. The FDA has not approved Botox for incontinence.