Anti-Spasm Gel Effective At Reducing Overactive Bladder, Researchers Say

A gel containing the anti-spasm drug oxybutynin may safely and effectively help women reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder, new research says.

The gel, which is sold under the brand name Gelnique, is a once-a-day treatment that is applied directly to the skin of the abdomen, arms, shoulders, and thighs. Researchers from Vanderbilt University said while both men and women may suffer from overactive bladders, women tend to experience more severe symptoms at a younger age.

In a study of 700 women with symptoms of overactive bladder, researchers gave some women oxybutynin and gave others placebo pills for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, 27 percent of women who used the oxybutynin gel were continent, compared to just 15.6 percent of women who were given placebos.

Also, women in the study treated with oxybutynin gel reported a lower average daily number of mean urinary episodes compared to women in the placebo group, according to the study.

Millions in U.S. Have Overactive Bladder

About one in 11 American adults suffer from overactive bladder, a condition also called urinary incontinence that results in a sudden, involuntary and unstoppable need to urinate. Besides the physical symptoms, the condition may also lead to depression, lower quality of life, and other psychological problems.

The use of oxybutynin gel to treat overactive bladder in the study did not result in serious side effects, with just 7.4 percent of women treated with it complaining of dry mouth. Just over two percent of women who used the gel reported itching at the application site, according to the study.

The results of the study prompted researchers to say oxybutynin gel “is a novel treatment approach with strong efficacy and excellent tolerability” for women with overactive bladder.

A report on the study was recently presented to the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

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