Medications For Urinary Incontinence

Another treatment option for urinary incontinence are medications, which can be helpful in some types of UI. Medications work best when combined with behavioral therapy.

Medications can affect bladder control in different ways: some prevent unwanted bladder contractions, some relax muscles, helping the bladder to empty more fully during urination, some tighten muscles in the bladder and urethra to cut down leakage, and some, especially hormones such as estrogen, are believed to cause muscles involved in urination to function normally.

Please note that these drugs can cause side effects. All medications should be taken under the care of a physician. Be sure your doctor knows about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you're taking.

Medications for Urge Incontinence (Overactive Bladder)

Anticholinergic medications block nerves that control bladder muscle contractions and allow for relaxation of the bladder smooth muscles. They can be used to treat urge and mixed incontinence.

Here is a list of some medications used for urge incontinence (overactive bladder):
  • Detrol (tolterodine tartrate)
  • Ditropan (oxybutynin chloride)
  • Sanctura (trospium chloride)
  • Enablex (darifenacin)
  • Vesicare (solifenacin succinate)

You may experience some side effects when taking these drugs. Common side effects include:
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes (particular problem for people who wear contact lenses)
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Decreased sweating and skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Increased heart rate

Medications for Stress Incontinence

Medications to treat stress incontinence are aimed at improving the action of the muscles that are holding urine in the bladder.

Stress incontinence may be treated with drugs such as:
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Imipramine
  • Duloxetine
Medical treatments for stress incontinence tends to be more successful in mild-to-moderate cases.

Side effects may include:
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
Postmenopausal women may benefit from estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), which can improve urinary frequency and urgency.

New medications for stress incontinence are currently being researched and will soon be available.