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Safe And Effective Treatment For Overactive Bladder In Spinal Cord Injury And Multiple Sclerosis Patients

PARIS, June 29, 2001 — Extended release oxybutynin (Ditropan XL) is a safe and effective treatment for overactive bladder in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) or multiple sclerosis, according to two studies that will be presented by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the World Health Organization Second International Consultation on Incontinence in Paris, France, July 1-3.

“The results of these studies should be encouraging to physicians treating multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury patients. They can now treat overactive bladder as a secondary condition, effectively improving the patient’s quality of life,” said Michael B. Chancellor, M.D., professor of urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of neuro-urology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and lead investigator in the study.

Damage to the nervous system, as experienced in SCI and MS patients, can cause a condition referred to as neurogenic bladder. Patients with neurogenic bladder experience a malfunction of the autonomic nerves that control bladder function, resulting in overactive bladder.

Extended release oxybutynin is one of the leading treatments for overactive bladder, decreasing the frequency of urination with a minimal amount of side effects. The University of Pittsburgh studies are the first to evaluate the drug’s efficacy in MS and SCI patients.

In the first study, Dr. Chancellor and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of extended release oxybutynin in patients who experienced detrusor hyperreflexia (DH), commonly referred to as overactive bladder, and had some type of SCI. Patients who received the drug greatly reduced their frequency of urination or catheterization by an average of two episodes a day with no serious side effects.

The second study evaluated the effectiveness of extended release oxybutynin in MS patients with neurogenic bladder. As in the study with SCI patients, oxybutynin reduced the number of voids or catheterizations by two a day with no serious side effects. Results also showed that oxybutynin did not increase residual urine volume. Increased urine volume could compromise overall bladder health, leading to urinary infections.

“Patients with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis face difficult challenges in everyday life,” said Dr. Chancellor. “By treating their overactive bladder symptoms, we are allowing them increased freedom by decreasing their need to use the bathroom or be catheterized.”

Overactive bladder affects approximately 17 million Americans, making it more prevalent than many commonly discussed conditions. With symptoms including involuntary loss of bladder control, the urgent need to urinate and frequent urination (more than 8 times a day), overactive bladder is one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated conditions in the United States.

The studies were sponsored by ALZA Pharmaceuticals, Mountain View, Calif.

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