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Oxybutynin

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

Absorbed through the skin

Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms of an overactive bladder, such as incontinence (loss of bladder control) or a frequent need to urinate. The gel form… Read more

Brand names include: Anturol, Gelnique

By mouth

Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms of an overactive bladder, such as incontinence (loss of bladder control) or a frequent need to urinate. Oxybutynin… Read more

Brand names include: Ditropan, Ditropan XL

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.

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.

Urinary Incontinence in Women: The Management of Urinary Incontinence in Women

This guidance is a partial update of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline 40 (published October 2006) and will replace it.

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Summaries for consumers

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.

Tricyclics and related drugs for treating bedwetting in children

Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis or enuresis) is the involuntary loss of urine during sleep without being caused by a physical disorder. It can result in social, emotional and psychological problems and lower quality of life. It affects around 15% to 20% of five‐year‐olds, and can persist in up to 2% of adults. Many different types of drugs have been used to treat bedwetting, both as a single treatment and in combination with other treatments. Tricyclics are antidepressants, which have been used for treating bedwetting since the 1960s. They probably work by their antispasmodic effect on the bladder. This review examines 64 trials of tricyclic drugs, involving 4071 children.

Drug treatment for children with bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) but not including the drug types desmopressin or tricyclics

Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is the involuntary loss of urine at night without an underlying organic disease as the cause. It can result in social problems, sibling teasing and lowered self esteem. It affects around 15% to 20% of five‐year olds, and up to 2% of adults. Many different types of drugs have been used to treat children with bed wetting. There is not enough reliable evidence to show that drugs other than desmopressin or tricyclics reduce bedwetting in children during treatment when used in isolation, despite their risk of unwanted side effects. In other Cochrane reviews, alarms triggered by wetting, desmopressin and tricyclic drugs have been shown to work during treatment. However, alarms have a more sustained effect than desmopressin and tricyclics after treatment has finished. The adverse effects of alarm therapy (tiredness and waking other members of the family) are relatively benign and self limiting compared with the adverse effects of drugs. One class of drugs (anticholinergic drugs) appears to improve the efficacy of other established treatments such as tricyclics, bedwetting alarms and desmopressin. The cost of treating children with bedwetting with alarm therapy or drugs may vary in different countries.

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