These medicines calm the nerves that control bladder muscles. They may prevent uncontrollable bladder contractions that force urine out of the bladder.
Why It Is Used
Antispasmodics and anticholinergics are used to control the symptoms of urge incontinence. These medicines may also be used to treat stress incontinence, especially if you have both stress and urge incontinence.
How Well It Works
Many men taking these medicines have fewer symptoms of urge incontinence and overactive bladder. Some men stop having symptoms completely. These medicines can decrease the chance of leakage and the number of times you feel the need to urinate.1
Adding these medicines to behavioral therapies like bladder training can help symptoms of urge incontinence and overactive bladder more than behavioral treatment alone.2
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor if you have:
Bloody or cloudy urine.
Pain or burning when you urinate.
Problems with urination, including:
Difficulty starting to urinate.
A urine stream that stops and starts.
A weak urine stream.
A need to strain while urinating.
A sense that the bladder is not empty after urination.
A dry mouth for more than 2 weeks.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
Dry mouth, nose, throat, and eyes.
Belly pain, upset stomach, or nausea.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Dry mouth is common with these medicines. To help with dry mouth, you can chew sugarless gum, suck on sugarless candy, or melt ice in your mouth. If you continue to have problems with dry mouth after a couple of weeks, call your doctor. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Nabi G, et al. (2006). Anticholinergic drugs versus placebo for overactive bladder syndromein adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
Alhasso AA, et al. (2006). Anticholinergic drugs versus non-drug active therapies for overactive bladder syndrome in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.