Effectiveness of anticholinergic drugs compared with placebo in the treatment of overactive bladder: systematic review

Peter Herbison, Jean Hay-Smith, Gaye Ellis, Kate Moore
BMJ: British Medical Journal 2003 April 19, 326 (7394): 841-4

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of anticholinergic drugs for the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome.

DESIGN: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

DATA SOURCES: Published papers and abstracts.

STUDY SELECTION: Randomised controlled trials with anticholinergic drug treatment in one arm and placebo in another.

DATA EXTRACTION: Primary outcomes of interest were patient perceived cure or improvement in symptoms, differences in number of incontinent episodes and number of voids in 24 hours, and side effects. Secondary outcomes of interest were urodynamic measures of bladder function (volume at first contraction, maximum cystometric capacity, and residual volume) and adverse events.

DATA SYNTHESIS: 32 trials were included, totalling 6800 participants. Most trials were described as double blind but were variable in other aspects of quality. At the end of treatment, cure or improvement (relative risk 1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.29 to 1.54), differences in incontinent episodes in 24 hours (estimated mean difference 0.6, 0.4 to 0.8), number of voids in 24 hours (0.6, 0.4 to 0.8), maximum cystometric capacity (54 ml, 43 ml to 66 ml), and volume at first contraction (52 ml, 37 ml to 67 ml), were significantly in favour of anticholinergics (P<0.0001 for all). Anticholinergics were associated with significantly higher residual volumes (4 ml, 1 ml to 7 ml; P=0.02) and an increased rate of dry mouth (relative risk 2.56, 2.24 to 2.92; P<0.0001). Sensitivity analysis, although affected by small numbers of studies, showed little likelihood of an effect of age, sex, diagnosis, or choice of drug.

CONCLUSIONS: Although statistically significant, the differences between anticholinergic drugs and placebo were small, apart from the increased rate of dry mouth in patients receiving active treatment. For many of the outcomes studied, the observed difference between anticholinergics and placebo may be of questionable clinical significance. None of these studies provided data on long term outcome.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.