The first line of defense in dealing with an overactive bladder is with a bladder control medication. This non-invasive approach can produce positive results and start many people down a pathway to better bladder control. There are many types of bladder medications that are used to suppress bladder contractions and most fall under the heading of antimuscarinics. These medications are not without side effects and although they are FDA approved, a serious discussion with a urologist or primary care physician is needed to understand long term health affects. Some typical drugs for treating overactive bladder syndrome:
Oxybutynin – Because of its proven effectiveness in decreasing urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and episodes of urge incontinence, this early treatment is still incredibly popular. It may be taken in pill form or as a transdermal patch. It may even be used as an intravesical medication and placed directly into the bladder.
Ditropan XL – An easier to use form of oxybutynin, Ditropan XL is capable of delivering a variety of doses of medicine in one unique non-dissolving capsule. This capsule displaces medicine into the body as liquid is absorbed through a tiny hole. It is convenient and effective because patients can remember to take one pill a day where multiple pills can be problematic for some.
Tolterodine – A patient may benefit from this bladder control medication because it was one of the first drugs developed specifically to target overactive bladder syndrome. It is very effective in targeting muscarinic receptors in the bladder while it does not bother the salivary glands like some medications. This means less dry mouth. It is generally taken as a pill.
Detrol LA – This long action release drug combines the effectiveness of tolterodine with the convenience of one daily pill. It is similar to Ditropan XL in that it means less worry for patients taking many pills daily otherwise.
Solifenacin – The antimuscarinic (marketed under the name Vesicare and others) is a great bladder control medication because like tolterodine it targets the receptors in the bladder without interfering with the salivary glands. This produces fewer side effects. It also boasts an efficacy similar to both oxybutynin and tolterodine.
The right bladder control medication can be a life-changer. This not to say that condom catheters or other male external catheters, incontinence pads, or adult briefs will no longer be needed, but a patient can much more easily suppress the desire to urinate and schedule bathroom breaks at more convenient intervals. Side effects are mild and these medications allow many people to live full lives without endless worrying over urinary incontinence.