Generic Name: Oxybutynin
Trade Names: Ditropan XL®, Oxytrol®, Gelnique®
How is this drug used? Oxybutynin is used to treat overactive bladder with symptoms of a strong need to urinate right away; leaking accidents due to a strong, immediate need to urinate; or a need to urinate often.
What is the mechanism of action? Oxybutynin acts by relaxing the bladder muscles. It is a type of drug known as an anticholinergic.
How is oxybutynin given (administered)? Depending on the form of the medicine that is prescribed, oxybutynin is taken orally (by mouth), administered to the skin in the form of a patch, or administered to the skin as a gel.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with oxybutynin. Patients may undergo physical examinations or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy.
What are the most common side effects of treatment with oxybutynin?
- Dry mouth
- Skin reactions to gel or patch
What are some of the less common side effects of treatment with oxybutynin?
- Trouble emptying the bladder
- Increased risk of stomach problems in some patients
- Headache, dizziness, sleepiness
- Worsening of myasthenia gravis
- Swelling (angioedema)
- Heat prostration in hot environments (oxybutynin can decrease sweating)
This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.
Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
- Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions, and discuss side effects with your physician.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how oxybutynin affects you.
- Avoid alcohol. It may increase the risk of serious side effects.
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
- Oxybutynin should not be taken by people who have trouble emptying their bladder, slow emptying of the stomach, uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma, or allergies to any of the ingredients in oxybutynin.
- Patients should inform their physician about all medical conditions, including stomach or intestinal problems, constipation, weak urine stream or trouble emptying the bladder, narrow-angle glaucoma, kidney problems, liver problems, gastric reflux disease, or myasthenia gravis.
- Patients should inform their physician of any other medication or supplement they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter), including bisphosphonates and anticholinergics.
- Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant. It is not known whether oxybutynin will harm an unborn baby.
When should patients notify their physician?
Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. Seek immediate medical care if you notice signs of a serious allergic reaction, such as swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue.
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
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