What is the best first choice oral drug therapy for OAB?

The management of overactive bladder (OAB) involves lifestyle changes and conservative measures in the first instance with the use of liquid/dietary advice, weight loss, and bladder training. Thereafter oral pharmacotherapy is instigated in symptomatic patients. Antimuscarinics and beta 3 agonists form the main classes of drug therapy in this field. Views on what is the best first line OAB treatment is changing based on recent evidence and adverse event profiles of these medications.

At the ICI-RS meeting 2023, Bristol, UK this topic was discussed and debated as a proposal. The following article summarizes the concepts presented that day as well as the interactive discussion that took place thereafter.

OAB guidelines are moving in many circumstances to an either antimuscarinic or beta 3 agonist approach based on patient factors. Several studies have raised concerns on the long-term impact of antimuscarinics, in relation to cognition, dementia, cardiovascular events, and mortality all related to antimuscarinic load. Neither antimuscarinics nor beta 3 agonists have good persistence and adherence rates in the medium to long term. Several barriers also exist to prescribing including guidelines recommending utilizing drugs with the lowest acquisition cost and "step therapy." A newer approach to managing OAB is personalized therapy in view of the many possible etiological factors and phenotypes. These concepts are highlighted in this article.

Current oral pharmacotherapy in managing OAB is limited by adverse events, adherence and persistence problems. Both antimuscarinics and beta 3 agonists are efficacious but most clinical trials demonstrate significant placebo effects in this field. Personalizing treatment to the individual seems a logical approach to OAB. There is a need for better treatments and further studies are required of existing treatments with high quality longer term outcomes.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2024 Jan 25 [Epub ahead of print]

Arun Sahai, Dudley Robinson, Paul Abrams, Alan Wein, Sachin Malde

Department of Urology, Guy's Hospital & King's College, London, UK., Department of Urogynaecology, King's College Hospital & King's College, London, UK., Bristol Urological Institute, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK., Desai Sethi Urology Institute, University of Miami Miller School of medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.