Treatment Tips


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Treatment Tips

If you have overactive bladder and found that lifestyle changes and pelvic floor exercises haven’t been as effective as you hoped, there’s a good chance your doctor may recommend medications to help treat your condition.

For many patients medications can be helpful, but you should talk with your doctor beforehand to set realistic expectations and to understand possible side effects.

No matter what drug you may be prescribed it’s important to consider what the dosing needs are for that medication and to be sure you can remember to take  your medicine exactly as prescribe. Medication doesn’t do you any good when it’s sitting in a bottle – it only works when you take it – and it’s startling to find out just how difficult that can actually be.

One study found that as many as 83 percent of patients prescribed anticholinergic medications stopped using them within the first month. Another study found that a year out, as few as 14% of new patients taking anticholinergics were still on their meds, and only 30% of new patients taking a beta adrenergic agent had stuck with their plan.2

It’s not just a matter of forgetfulness, either – though that plays a part. Side effects are a big reason why some people stop their meds, and cost can be a major factor, too.

Still, you may be thinking, “Studies, shmudies – I don’t know who they talked to in those studies, but I can remember to take my meds.” That’s easy enough to say, but it pays to be honest with yourself. If you take other medications, how many times have you found yourself thinking, “Did I take my pills this morning?” There’s a good chance that sounds awfully familiar.

So if that’s the reality, what can you do to improve your prospects for effective treatment?

Do your best to set alarms and make reminders – the more you condition yourself to be vigilant about your routine, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it. Here are some ideas to help you stay on track. 

  • Set a alarm
  • Establish a routine, taking your medicine at the same time everyday
  • Ask your partner to help you remember everyday 
  • Use a pillbox with days noted on each compartment, refill on Sunday each week 
  • If no children are in the house, keep your medicine set out somewhere visible, and turn the bottle upside down after you have taken it
  • Record your doses on a calendar or use a treatment tracker diary worksheet

If you find remembering to take medicine as prescribed is difficult or your treatment plan is not working as expected, talk your doctor. There are other treatment options for OAB that might be right for you.  

Click the video below to learn more. 


For more information, visit the National Association for Continence’s page on sacral nerve stimulation today or visit and take the symptoms quiz to see if you may qualify. 


1. George Araklitis & Linda Cardozo (2017): Safety issues associated with using medication to treat overactive bladder, Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, DOI: 10.1080/14740338.2017.1376646

2. Adrian Wagg (2016): Persistence with medication and overactive bladder: an ongoing challenge, Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, DOI: 10.1080/14737167.2016.1203258

3. Dasgupta R. Critchley HD, Dolan RJ, Fowler CJ. Changes in brain activity following sacral Neuromodulation for urinary retention. J Urol. 2005;174:2268-2272

4. Griffiths D, Derbyshire S, Stenger A, Resnick N. Brain control of normal and overactive bladder. J Urol. 2005;174:1862-1867.


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