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Discontinuation Rate for Bladder Medications High

More than half of women discontinue treatment after six months

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of women prescribed anticholinergic drugs for lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of overactive bladder discontinued treatment after six months, suggesting poor adherence to treatment, researchers report in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Manish Gopal, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia analyzed discontinuation rates of anticholinergic medications used to treat lower urinary tract symptoms using data from 49,419 episodes of anticholinergic therapy from 29,369 women in the United Kingdom.

The researchers found that women discontinued the drugs after a median of 4.76 months. At six months, 58.8 percent of women had discontinued treatment and 77.2 percent had discontinued after one year. At six months, 71 percent had discontinued oxybutynin, 57 percent had discontinued extended-release oxybutynin, 61 percent had discontinued tolterodine tartrate, and 54 percent had discontinued extended-release tolterodine tartrate, the report indicates. Women switched to another medication in 15.8 percent of episodes. There were an average of 1.65 treatment episodes and an average of 1.54 drug classes prescribed per patient, the authors report.

"Discontinuation rates for anticholinergic medications are high regardless of the class of medication used," Gopal and colleagues conclude. "These high discontinuation rates suggest that women have poor adherence to prescribed anticholinergic therapy for lower urinary tract symptoms."

The study was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck.

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