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J Urol. 2019 May;201(5):973-978. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000000035.

Do Patients Discontinue Overactive Bladder Medications after Sacral Neuromodulation?

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Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Section of Urology, Virginia Mason Medical Center , Seattle , Washington.



Overactive bladder medications often have poor tolerability or lack of efficacy with many patients progressing to third line therapy such as sacral neuromodulation. Those treated with sacral neuromodulation may avoid the potential side effects of overactive bladder medications while achieving symptom improvement. We evaluated the postoperative rate of discontinuing overactive bladder medications in patients who underwent sacral neuromodulation of refractory overactive bladder.


We queried a prospectively collected, institutional review board approved database for patients who underwent sacral neuromodulation. Patients were excluded from analysis if the surgical indication was urinary retention or a sacral neuromodulation device was removed 1 year or less postoperatively. We assessed clinical characteristics, urodynamic parameters and filled overactive bladder medications using an external prescription database. Patient perceived postoperative outcomes were examined. Groups were compared by the Student t-test and the chi-square test.


Of the 78 patients who met inclusion criteria 82.1% stopped and never restarted overactive bladder medications (the sacral neuromodulation only group). Of the patients 14.1% consecutively continued filling overactive bladder medications 1 year or more following surgery (the concurrent group). There was no difference between the groups in body mass index, gender, sacral neuromodulation revision, urodynamic parameters, the PGI-I (Patient Global Impression of Improvement) or patient perceived percent improvement. However, concurrent patients were significantly older than those who received sacral neuromodulation only (p = 0.002).


More than 80% of patients who progressed to sacral neuromodulation discontinued overactive bladder medications and received sacral neuromodulation as the sole treatment. A small portion of patients concurrently used overactive bladder medications following sacral neuromodulation for 1 year or more. However, outcomes were similar in the 2 groups. Sacral neuromodulation is a strategy to provide a successful outcome in refractory cases and yet avoid the potentially detrimental side effects related to overactive bladder medications.


adverse effects; cholinergic antagonists; electrodes; implanted; overactive; prostheses and implants; urinary bladder

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