Posted on Dec 28, 2015 7:09:00 AM by Rebecca Anderson

Examining OAB Drugs in the Elderly

Elderly woman examining bottles of medication

Treating patients with Overactive Bladder Syndrome can be difficult. Even when medications help, many patients discontinue use within the first year, either because of limited improvement, or irritating side-effects. And now, an increasing body of evidence links the drugs used to treat OAB to potentially harmful effects when taken by the elderly.

Problems with Polypharmacy

Part of the problem centers around the average number of drugs taken by elderly patients. According to an article in the publication, American Nurse Today, “44% of men and 57% of women older than age 65 take five or more medications per week; about 12% of both men and women take 10 or more medications per week.” This saturation drug use, known as polypharmacy – taking multiple medications simultaneously to treat different conditions and symptoms – can present problems for the elderly.

An article in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal cites, “The impact of polypharmacy on the elderly is associated with poor adherence, drug-drug interactions, medication errors and adverse drug reactions – including falls, hip fractures, confusion and delirium – accounting for a significant percentage of potentially preventable emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

Medication management is a major challenge for everyone involved with elderly patients. Older adults with OAB should be particularly vigilant. The organization, Collaboration for Homecare Advances in Management and Practice (CHAMP) created a medication management toolkit to address this concern. These handy reference guides are designed to evaluate and reduce inappropriate polypharmacy in geriatric patients. 

OAB Drug Therapy

For OAB sufferers, drug therapy is typically the go-to treatment. However, healthcare professionals should check the updated Beers Criteria list, before prescribing additional medication to elderly patients. The American Geriatric Society composed this list of medications that are potentially inappropriate for use by older adults, noting they should be avoided or used with caution. One of these is anticholinergics, the largest class of drugs used to treat OAB Syndrome, and the various symptoms it represents, such as:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Sudden urges to urinate
  • Inability to control urination
  • Excessive urination (more than once at night)
  • Combinations of symptoms (mixed incontinence)

Non-Drug, Non-Surgical Treatment

Urgent PC therapy is a low-risk, office-based treatment that is a proven alternative for OAB patients of all ages. Urgent PC a great alternative for patients hoping to avoid the enduring constipation, cognitive impairment, dizziness and other inconveniences often experienced with OAB drugs.

While there are some minor side-effects associated with Urgent PC, most patients don’t experience any side-effects.  Some patients find the stimulation uncomfortable or have skin inflammation near the stimulation site but these things usually temporary and can be mitigated by turning off the Urgent PC stimulator.

An increasing number of studies, research trials, and patient testimonials reflect the effectiveness of this therapy.  They are people like Ann, an Incontinence Nurse who spent her life managing the disorder caused by mixed incontinence, until she discovered Urgent PC therapy. She says her treatment was, “Very painless. I usually feel tingling in my toes and the bottom of my foot during treatment. It’s very comfortable and relaxing. I read during the treatments.”

It’s important to remember that roughly 80% percent of the patients receiving drug therapy for OAB discontinue using them within one year, mainly because of adverse side-effects. When it concerns OAB drugs in the elderly, not only is that a concern, but issues relating to mental health and overall physical well-being are also at stake.

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Urgent PC is indicated for the treatment of Overactive Bladder and associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. Treatment with Urgent PC is contraindicated for patients with pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, patients prone to excessive bleeding, patients with nerve damage that could impact either percutaneous tibial nerve or pelvic floor function or patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the duration of the treatment. Most patients don't experience side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are typically temporary and include mild pain and skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For complete instructions for use, storage, warnings, indications, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions and disclaimer of warranties, please refer to the insert accompanying each product or online at www.cogentixmedical.com. Urgent PC is a registered trademark of Cogentix Medical © 2015 Cogentix Medical. All rights reserved. 

Rebecca Anderson
Rebecca Anderson has been a marketer in the healthcare industry for over fifteen years, the last ten of which have been focused on Urgent PC and other products from Cogentix Medical. Rebecca has a special fondness for Urgent PC, having been part of the Uroplasty team that launched the product to U.S. and International markets.
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