The most common side effects of overactive bladder (OAB) medication can include dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision. However, if you experience severe side effects, seek emergency care.

man in car having a headache from OAB medications-1Share on Pinterest
Adam Lister/Getty Images

OAB medications can effectively manage the symptoms of an OAB but may also cause side effects. Knowing common side effects and strategies to manage them effectively is important.

Some medications have fewer side effects than others, but individual responses can vary. Healthcare professionals often recommend gradual tapering off of medications, and in rare instances, emergency care may be necessary.

The side effects of OAB medication can vary depending on the medication class and individual medication. Here are common OAB medications along with lists of their potential side effects.


Healthcare professionals often prescribe anticholinergic medications as the first line in treating OAB. The most common side effects of these medications include:

Call a healthcare professional immediately if you experience severe side effects of OAB medications. Severe side effects of anticholinergic medications may include:

If you have narrow-angle glaucoma, delayed gastric emptying, or a history of urinary retention, you should not take anticholinergic medications.

Beta-3 agonists

Beta-3 agonists are a newer class of OAB medication. Healthcare professionals often prescribe beta-3 agonists as an alternative to anticholinergics for people who cannot tolerate or have not responded well to other medications.

The beta-3 agonist mirabegron (Myrbetriq) is currently among the first-line medications in treating OAB. Commonly reported side effects of this medication include:

Although mirabegron is generally considered safe, it may also cause severe side effects such as:

If you experience any severe side effects of OAB medication, seek immediate medical attention.

If you experience the side effects of OAB medication, you can try several strategies to manage side effects effectively.

  • Dry mouth: Consider sipping on water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Chewing on sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production. You can also use saliva substitutes or mouth rinses to provide temporary relief.
  • Constipation: Increasing fiber intake, drinking plenty of water to soften stool, and engaging in regular exercise can also facilitate digestion. If these strategies don’t offer relief, a healthcare professional may recommend using stool softeners to manage constipation.
  • Blurred vision: Avoid activities that require clear vision, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, until your vision clears. If your blurred vision persists or worsens, consider talking with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

If you’re experiencing side effects of OAB medication, consider talking with a healthcare professional for appropriate management.

Although the side effects of OAB medication can vary from person to person, certain OAB medications may have fewer side effects than others.

Solifenacin (Vesicare)

Studies have shown that newer anticholinergic medications, such as solifenacin (Vesicare), may have fewer side effects than some other anticholinergics like oxybutynin (Ditropan XL).

A 2023 study review found that solifenacin effectively reduced OAB symptoms while being well-tolerated by children and adolescents.

Darifenacin (Enablex)

Similar to solifenacin, darifenacin (Enablex) is another second-generation anticholinergic with a low risk of side effects.

Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)

Additionally, researchers have found that beta-3 adrenergic agonists like mirabegron (Myrbetriq) have fewer side effects than anticholinergics. Several studies suggest that mirabegron has a very good safety profile.

However, individual responses to these medications can vary. So consider speaking with a healthcare professional to determine the best medication for your condition.

Healthcare professionals typically recommend tapering off OAB medications. Tapering allows the body to adjust gradually to the reduction in medication dosage.

A 2020 study found that gradual weaning of solifenacin helped lower the risk of OAB symptoms coming back again.

The tapering process may involve gradually reducing the dosage or switching to a different medication with a lower potency. This approach helps minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent the sudden return of OAB symptoms or potential side effects, providing a smoother transition.

However, consider talking with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication regimen, including tapering off. They can help determine the correct tapering schedule based on your condition and medication type.

While rare, severe side effects of OAB medication may require emergency medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek emergency care immediately:

  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • severe dizziness or fainting
  • chest pain or discomfort

You may also consider talking with a healthcare professional if you experience other severe side effects of medication, such as confusion, hallucinations, severe constipation, or difficulty urinating. They can advise on the appropriate management.

Managing the symptoms of OAB can help improve the quality of life for people with OAB. Healthcare professionals often prescribe OAB medications as part of the treatment plan for OAB.

While these medications can effectively reduce OAB symptoms, they may also come with certain side effects, such as dry mouth, blurred vision, and constipation.