Safety issues associated with using medication to treat overactive bladder

The mainstay of overactive bladder treatment is the use of anticholinergic medication with its common side effects well known. This review focused on three less well-known safety issues when treating OAB. Areas covered: Patients with increased anticholinergic load are at risk of cognitive decline, dementia or even death. The elderly are particularly at risk due to polypharmacy. Botulinum toxin carries the risk of high urinary residuals, urinary tract infection and need to self catheterise. The use of vaginal oestrogens may improve OAB symptoms, but there is concern in those with a history of breast cancer. Studies have shown that the systemic absorption is negligible and does not increase the risk of recurrence. Expert Opinion: Improvement in assessing anticholinergic load is needed with the development of a universal drug scale. To avoid increasing load, Mirabegron or botulinum toxin can be used instead. There is no consensus of the use of prophylactic antibiotics when injecting botulinum toxin and at what residual to initiate self catheterisation. Despite evidence showing that the use of vaginal oestrogens is safe in those with a history of cancer, it is not fully supported by any health body. Further work is needed in those using aromatase inhibitors.

Expert opinion on drug safety. 2017 Sep 10 [Epub]

George Araklitis, Linda Cardozo

a Department of Urogynaecology , King's College Hospital , London , UK.