When conservative treatments such lifestyle changes and/or physical therapy do not improve your symptoms enough to improve your quality of life, your doctor can prescribe certain medications to treat the symptoms of OAB. Medication therapy may be used in combination with physical therapy and/or diet and fluid modification.
There are two classes of medications to help manage your OAB symptoms:
- Anticholinergics/Antimuscarinics – Anticholinergics work by relaxing the bladder. Antimuscarinics work by preventing bladder spasms. These drugs can decrease the severe urge to urinate and may also enable the bladder to hold more urine without frequent leakage because the bladder is more relaxed.
- Beta-3 Agonists - These are a class of medications that relax the bladder. As with most medications, it may take some time before you see an improvement in your OAB symptoms. Your urologist will monitor the medication’s effectiveness and dosage over several weeks to make sure the drug prescribed is working for you.
As with most medications, it may take some time before you see an improvement in your urge symptoms. Your urologist will monitor the medication’s effectiveness and dosage over several weeks to make sure the drug prescribed is working for you. Your urologist will also encourage you to continue your pelvic floor exercises and any diet and lifestyle modifications you have already initiated while you are on the medication to help you achieve the best results.
Possible side effects of common OAB medications
• Anticholinergics: dry mouth, constipation and dry eyes
• Myrbetriq™ (mirabegron): headaches
If more conservative therapies and medication therapy are not completely successful at improving your OAB symptoms, your urologist will re-evaluate your symptoms and plan of care. A cystoscopy and urodynamics testing will be recommended at this time to provide your doctor with more information about your OAB symptoms. From here, your urologist may recommend more advanced treatments to manage your OAB.