Medications to treat Urge Incontinence

Urinary incontinence may be treated with medicines. But in many cases, treatment with behavioral methods (bladder training, timed urination) and Kegel exercises are tried before medicines. These treatments, when combined with medicine, may help some women more than either treatment alone.

Medication Choices

Anticholinergics for Urinary Incontinence in Women

Generic Name      Brand Name

darifenacin            Enablex
fesoterodine          Toviaz
oxybutynin             Ditropan, Gelnique, Oxytrol
solifenacin             Vesicare
tolterodine             Detrol
trospium                Sanctura

How It Works

Anticholinergic medicines block nerves that control bladder muscle contractions and allow for relaxation of the bladder smooth muscle. These actions work together to help control urge urinary incontinence
Why It Is Used

Anticholinergic medicines are used to treat urge incontinence and overactive bladder.
How Well It Works

These medicines rarely cure urge incontinence or overactive bladder. In general, people taking these medicines had about 5 fewer trips to the toilet and 4 fewer leakage episodes each week. People taking these medicines also felt they had a better quality of life.1
Adding these medicines to behavioral therapies like bladder training can help symptoms of urge incontinence and overactive bladder more than behavioral treatment alone.


Beta agonists

Generic Name                Brand Name

Mirabegron                     Myrbetriq

How it works

Mirbegron is a beta-3 adronergic agonist agent indicated for bladder spasms.  Contraindicated in women with increase blood pressure and urinary retention.


Antidepressants for Urinary Incontinence
Generic Name                 Brand Name

duloxetine                        Cymbalta

imipramine                       Tofranil
This medicine is usually taken as pills or liquid (orally).
How It Works

Duloxetine is an antidepressant called a “selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.” It changes how the brain uses certain brain chemicals. How it helps with bladder control is not yet known.
Imipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant, but it has anticholinergic side effects. This means that it relaxes the smooth muscle of the bladder. It also causes the muscles at the bladder neck to contract.
Why It Is Used

Duloxetine may be prescribed for stress incontinence
Imipramine may be prescribed for:
Urge incontinenceClick here to see more information..
Stress incontinence.
Mixed urge and stress incontinence.
How Well It Works

Duloxetine rarely cures stress incontinence. But it can reduce the number of times you leak urine. People taking duloxetine also felt it improved their quality of life.
Imipramine is not a well-studied incontinence treatment. It is not known as a highly effective treatment for urinary incontinence. But it may be worth trying if other medicines don’t work or if they cause side effects.


Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don’t feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.