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Curr Urol Rep. 2013 Oct;14(5):379-85. doi: 10.1007/s11934-013-0338-5.

Management of OAB in those over age 65.

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Urology, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Rua Napoleão de Barros, 715, 2 andar, São Paulo, Brazil.


The International Continence Society (ICS) defines overactive bladder (OAB) as an association of symptoms including "urgency, with or without urge incontinence, usually with increased frequency and nocturia". This conditon has been associated with a decrease in quality of life and a higher related risk of overall health condition decrease, and is rising since its prevalence increases with age and the forecast for the world population estimates an increase of those over 65 years old. Aging alone can be considered a major risk factor for developing OAB symptoms that are considered multifactorial and due to body tissue and anatomic changes, lifestyle-associated factors, comorbidities and personal characteristics. The high prevalence of this condition and multiple etiology factors makes of its treatment a challenge-especially in the older population. A major concern over OAB treatment of elderly patients is the risk of cognitive side effects due to the pharmacologic treatment with anticholinergic drugs. First-line treatment for OAB symptoms are the use of pharmacologic therapy with antimuscarinic drugs, which has been proved to be effective in controlling urgency, urge incontinence episodes, incontinence episodes, and nocturia. The impact caused by this condition is significant regarding the economic and human costs associated bringing into attention the need of studying and reviewing this specific population. Conservative Management and Lifestyle Modifications: Behavioral therapy's aims are to reduce urinary frequency and urgency to an accepted level and to increase bladder outlet volume. It consists of actions to teach patients to improve and learn bladder control. Lifestyle modifications are a conjunct of daily activities that can be managed to have the lowest interference on the functioning of the urinary tract. Pharmacologic Therapy: There are various medications with antimuscarinic properties available for the treatment of OAB symptoms. The most commonly used are oxybutinin, tolterodine, solifenacin, darifenacin, fesosterodine and trospium. Second-line Therapy: OAB treatment accounts for some refractory to conventional treatment patients who will require alternative therapies to achieve improvement of symptoms as the use of intradetrusor injection of botulinum A toxin by binding to receptors on the membrane of cholinergic nerves causing temporary chemodenervation and consequent muscle relaxation. Neuromodulation is also an effective therapy that aims to achieve inhibition of detrusor activity by continuous neural stimulation through peripheral nerves as the use of the tibial nerve or central as it is performed by direct spine stimulation on sacral roots through the implantation of an automated generator. In conclusion, evidence from the literature has shown that antimuscarinic treatment of OAB in the elderly population is safe and effective in improving symptoms and patient's quality of life. Managing OAB symptoms in this population is a great challenge. An optimal therapeutic approach to treat should involve medical treatment with drug and behavioral therapy in addition to lifestyle advice.

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