Drugs for Urinary Incontinence May Do More Harm than Good

Drugs for Urinary Incontinence May Do More Harm than GoodA new analysis shows that women battling urinary incontinence may be receiving available treatments that could cause more problems than they solve, and may need to stop taking the medications because of the adverse side effects, HealthDay reports.

Urgency incontinence, which results in frequent and sudden urges to urinate that can result in leakage and accidents, has typically been treated with medication in addition to lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises and bladder training. Several forms of medicine have been developed to treat the conditions, which typically relax bladder contractions, helping improve bladder function.

Experts at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently assessed the data from 94 studies to determine the efficacy of the potentially dangerous drugs. The medication was only said to be effective if women reached a 50 percent or more drop in daily episodes of urge incontinence. The team of researchers also compared the drug's side effects and the lingering effects after discontinuation of the drugs.

Overall, drugs were more effective than a placebo in helping women prevent accidents, however the improvements were slight, and the presence of adverse side effects was frequent, the study showed.

"Since all drugs for urgency incontinence have comparable effectiveness, therapeutic choice should consider the harms profile, and women should be informed about all possible adverse effects," the researchers said.

The study was published in an April issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the National Library of Medicine, several tests exist to identify urgency incontinence in patients, including myograms, cystoscopies, pelvic or abdominal ultrasound, urinalysis cultures and other tests. Medications to treat the problem have been linked to blurred vision, insomnia and nausea.