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Oxybutynin (By mouth)

Treats an overactive bladder, such as incontinence (loss of bladder control) or a frequent need to urinate by helping you have more control over the need to urinate.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms of an overactive bladder, such as incontinence (loss of bladder control) or a frequent need to urinate. Oxybutynin belongs to the group of medicines called antispasmodics. It helps decrease muscle spasms of the bladder and the frequent urge to urinate caused by these spasms. Oxybutynin extended-release tablets is also used to treat children 6 years of age and… Read more
Brand names include
Ditropan, Ditropan XL
Other forms
Absorbed through the skin
Drug classes About this
Urinary Antispasmodic

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Intravesical oxybutynin for children with poorly compliant neurogenic bladder: a systematic review

The review concluded that, whilst intravesical oxybutynin was a potential alternative therapy for children with neurogenic bladder refractory to oral oxybutynin, or those who experience severe side effects with oral oxybutynin, there was insufficient evidence to recommend this treatment. The authors' conclusions are suitably cautious and reflect the limited evidence base.

Treatment of Overactive Bladder in Women

The Vanderbilt Evidence-based Practice Center systematically reviewed evidence on treatment of overactive bladder (OAB), urge urinary incontinence, and related symptoms. We focused on prevalence and incidence, treatment outcomes, comparisons of treatments, modifiers of outcomes, and costs.

Drug Class Review: Agents for Overactive Bladder: Final Report Update 4 [Internet]

Overactive bladder is defined by the International Continence Society as a syndrome of urinary frequency and urgency, with or without urge incontinence, appearing in the absence of local pathological factors. Treatment of overactive bladder syndrome first requires a clear diagnosis. In patients with incontinence, multiple forms can be present and it is important to determine which form is dominant. Non-pharmacologic, non-surgical treatment consists of behavioral training (prompted voiding, bladder training, pelvic muscle rehabilitation), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, catheterization, and use of absorbent pads. Pharmacologic treatment for overactive bladder syndrome includes darifenacin, flavoxate hydrochloride, hyoscyamine, oxybutynin chloride, tolterodine tartrate, trospium chloride, scopolamine transdermal, and solifenacin succinate. The purpose of this systematic review is to compare the benefits and harms of drugs used to treat overactive bladder syndrome.

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Summaries for consumers

Comparing Drugs for Overactive Bladder Syndrome

How do anticholinergics compare in treating overactive bladder syndrome?

Non-surgical Treatments for Urinary Incontinence: A Review of the Research for Women

The information in this summary is from a report that reviewed 905 studies between January 1990 and December 2011 on treatments without surgery for urinary incontinence. You can use the information from research to understand what is known about the possible benefits and side effects of each treatment option. This information will help you talk with your doctor about what option may be best for you.

Which anticholinergic drug for overactive bladder symptoms in adults

Many adults have symptoms of overactive bladder. A person with overactive bladder syndrome feels a very strong urge to pass urine and they may not make it to the toilet before they leak urine. Other common problems are a feeling of needing to urinate often during the day or night, or both. This problem seems to be caused by an overactive bladder muscle, and it becomes more common with ageing. Treatments are conservative measures, such as bladder training or drugs. Anticholinergic drugs can reduce the overactivity of the bladder muscle and the feeling of urgency. The review found that there are several anticholinergic drugs prescribed for adults with overactive bladder symptoms. The two most studied drugs are oxybutynin and tolterodine. These two drugs have similar effects but, on average, those taking oxybutynin were more likely to withdraw from the studies because of adverse effects, mainly dry mouth. However, both drugs can give dry mouth and this problem is less likely if an extended release formulation of either drug is used. Two newer drugs are solifenacin and fesoterodine. Solifenacin has a better effect and less risk of dry mouth compared to tolterodine. Fesoterodine has a better effect than extended release tolterodine but withdrawal from studies due to adverse effects and dry mouth was more likely.

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