A large study into the treatment of urinary incontinence (which can affect up to 20 percent of women) with botulinum toxin (Botox) has demonstrated that it is effective in treating the condition. The study, from the University of Leicester, was published in the journal European Urology.
Specifically, the study looked at treating the condition known as overactive bladder (OAB). OAB is a form of urinary incontinence with symptoms including having to rush to the toilet, nocturia (the need to interrupt sleep at night to urinate) and having wetting accidents before reaching the toilet. Urinary incontinence is more common in women.
OAB is usually caused by the bladder muscle being overactive and contracting at random moments, rather than only when it is convenient to empty the bladder. Currently, treatment is usually started with pelvic floor muscle exercises, advice on fluid intake and one of a range of tablets. While these measures work for some people, a large number of patients gain no relief or have bad side effects.
The new study found that a single treatment with botox was a very effective treatment for the symptoms of OAB "Patients were able to pass water one or two times less often during the day, and also noticed far fewer times when they had bad feelings of urgency and had to rush to the bathroom," noted lead researcher Dr. Douglas Tincello. "Most excitingly, about 4 in 10 women become completely continent again after six weeks."
Botox treatment is not without complications, however. About 1 in 8 women had some difficulty emptying their bladder at some time in the six months after treatment (due to paralysis of the bladder muscle).
"I am very excited by our work; this bladder condition is very frustrating for me as a doctor, and botulinum toxin works so much better than the drugs we have. My patients have been delighted with how well it works, even with the chance of needing to use a catheter. Our study is the largest one completed without any involvement from the companies who make the drug and it is very satisfying to have contributed to finding out how effective the drug is," concluded Tincello.
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Source: University of Leicester