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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000 Apr;48(4):370-4.

Combined behavioral and drug therapy for urge incontinence in older women.

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  • 1University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Center for Aging, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of combining behavioral treatment and drug treatment for urge incontinence in community-dwelling older women.


Modified crossover design (extension of a randomized clinical trial). Eligible subjects were stratified according to type and severity of incontinence and randomized to behavioral treatment, drug treatment, or a control condition (placebo). Subjects not totally continent or not satisfied after 8 weeks of a single treatment were offered the opportunity to cross over into combined therapy.


A university-based outpatient geriatric medicine clinic.


Subjects in the clinical trial were 197 ambulatory, nondemented, community-dwelling women (age 55 years or older) with persistent urge urinary incontinence. Thirty-five subjects participated in combined treatment.


One group of subjects received four sessions (over 8 weeks) of biofeedback-assisted behavioral training followed by 8 weeks of behavioral training combined with drug therapy (oxybutynin chloride individually titrated from 2.5 mg to 15 mg daily). The second group received drug therapy first, followed by 8 weeks of drug therapy combined with behavioral training.


Bladder diaries completed by subjects before and after each treatment phase were used to calculate change in the frequency of incontinent episodes.


Eight subjects (12.7%) crossed from behavioral treatment alone to combined behavioral and drug therapy. Additional benefit was seen in improvement from a mean 57.5% reduction of incontinence with single therapy to a mean 88.5% reduction of incontinence with combined therapy (P = .034). Twenty-seven subjects (41.5%) crossed from drug therapy alone to combined drug and behavioral treatment. They also showed additional improvement, from a mean 72.7% reduction of incontinence with single therapy to a mean 84.3% reduction of incontinence with combined therapy (P = .001).


This study shows that combining drug and behavioral therapy in a stepped program can produce added benefit for patients with urge incontinence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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