Management of overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence in the elderly patient

Erdem, N.; Chu, F.M.

American Journal of Medicine 119(3 Suppl 1: 29-36

2006


ISSN/ISBN: 1555-7162
PMID: 16483866
DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.12.014
Accession: 012284992

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Abstract
The symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB) and urge urinary incontinence may occur at any age but are particularly common among the elderly. These symptoms are associated with significant morbidity and often have a profound impact on patient quality of life. Urinary incontinence is an important contributor to the complications and economic cost of OAB for both community-dwelling and institutionalized elderly individuals. Many patients with OAB do not seek treatment because of embarrassment, fear of surgery, or the misperceptions that the problem is untreatable or is a normal and inevitable consequence of aging. Nonpharmacologic therapies improve bladder control by modifying lifestyle and behavior to prevent urine loss. This requires patient and caregiver motivation and can be time consuming. Improved results may be obtained by combining these strategies with pharmacotherapy or by means of pharmacotherapy alone. The most commonly used pharmacologic agents are the muscarinic receptor antagonists. These include oxybutynin, tolterodine, and three agents that have recently been approved for use in the United States: trospium, darifenacin, and solifenacin. In general, these therapies are well tolerated and safe; however, the selection of an optimal agent merits careful consideration. For elderly patients, important considerations include tolerability, absence of drug interactions, and the availability of a range of dosages to tailor treatment to individual patients. Primary care practitioners and geriatricians can have a key role in successful diagnosis and treatment of OAB. It is important for these physicians to realize that satisfactory outcomes may be achieved within the scope of a busy outpatient practice.