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Curr Urol Rep. 2011 Oct;12(5):351-7. doi: 10.1007/s11934-011-0198-9.

Antimuscarinic drugs: review of the cognitive impact when used to treat overactive bladder in elderly patients.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


The blockade of muscarinic receptors in the management of overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms provides beneficial as well as adverse effects. The cognitive changes observed are caused by the drugs' ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to muscarinic receptors within the central nervous system (CNS). To date, while not specifically testing for CNS side effects, most of the controlled efficacy trials of multiple OAB medications have not shown significant adverse effects on cognitive function. However, elderly individuals, in whom OAB is more prevalent, often are excluded from these studies. The few trials that have performed cognitive testing in healthy elderly people taking antimuscarinics have clearly shown that oxybutynin can adversely affect cognition. Darifenacin, trospium, solifenacin, and tolterodine appear to have little to no risk of causing CNS side effects in this population. However, caution needs to be used in elderly patients with preexisting dementia.

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

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