Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men and women. There are dozens of medications that can be contributing to the cause of incontinence. Often times stopping these medications, with physician’s approval, or changing to another drug, also with physician approval, may help control the urine process.
There are many types of urinary incontinence, the most prevalent being “urge incontinence” — an urge to urinate so sudden and strong that you often can’t get to a bathroom in time. When this type of incontinence has no identifiable cause, it’s called “overactive bladder.”
The drugs typically used to treat this condition include darifenacin (Enablex), fesoterodine (Toviaz); oxybutynin (Ditropan), solifenacin (Vesicare), tolterodine (Detrol) and trospium (Sanctura). These are all anticholinergics — drugs that block the effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter associated with muscle activation, learning and memory.
Many commonly prescribed drugs can also cause incontinence or make it worse. Among them:
- heart medications
- blood-pressure medications (amlodipine, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril and furosemide, for example)
- muscle relaxants
- sleeping pills
I’d recommend that you work closely with your physician to determine; if at all possible, what might be causing her incontinence. Smoking or being overweight can be contributing factors, for example.
While it’s not always possible to pinpoint a cause, I find that adjusting a patient’s medications often resolves or, at least, substantially lessens the problem. Some simple behavioral techniques — including bladder training and scheduled toilet trips — can help, too.
Bottom Line: Incontinence is a common problem. Make sure your medications aren’t causing the problem or making it worse. Check with your doctor.