Botox Eases Overactive Bladder, 2 Studies Find
Skin smoother brought relief for majority -- but not all -- of patients who got injections for urinary incontinence
By Alan Mozes
FRIDAY, May 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Although Botox has long been used to smooth aging skin, new research finds that the muscle relaxant is also a useful treatment for urinary incontinence.
With the condition, an overactive bladder contracts too often or without warning, leading to the constant urge to urinate and/or bladder leakage. But two studies, slated to be presented Friday at the American Urological Association annual meeting in New Orleans, offer evidence that injecting Botox directly into the bladder muscle may be an effective and safe way to treat the problem.
"The bottom-line gist is that we found that Botox has a good, long-lasting, safe and consistent effect over time among patients who do initially respond well to it and choose to continue treatment," said Dr. Victor Nitti, vice chair of the department of urology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Nitti, who is also director of NYU's department of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, was involved in two of three new studies of Botox.
In the first study, the only one funded by Botox maker Allergen Inc., Nitti and his colleagues analyzed data on 227 patients who received Botox injections (averaging less than two shots per year) over a four-year period.
Roughly nine in 10 patients saw a 50 percent or greater drop in daily urinary incontinence episodes. Between 44 percent and 52 percent of patients saw all incontinence episodes end.
Quality-of-life scores doubled and tripled throughout the study, the researchers found. The most frequent serious side effect was a urinary tract infection, but the research team stressed that that risk did not increase with continued treatment.
Nitti also led a second investigation that looked at how slightly more than 250 patients -- from an earlier trial -- continued to fare while receiving between one and six additional Botox injections over a three-year follow-up study.
The result: the team once again found that long-term Botox treatment produced a consistent drop in daily incontinence episodes, with one injection producing stable results for an excess of one year among a third of patients.