Good news for women suffering from overactive bladder: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first over-the-counter drug to treat the disorder. Oxytrol for Women (oxybutynin) comes as a patch that's applied to the skin every four days. In clinical trials, the drug was shown to be safe and effective in relieving overactive bladder symptoms, which can include frequent urination, urine leakage and an urgent need to urinate.

The drug is part of a class of drugs called anticholinergics that work by relaxing the bladder muscle. Side effects can include skin irritation where the patch is applied, dry mouth and constipation.

Men with overactive bladder, however, will still have to get a prescription for oxybutynin; the new OTC drug is for women only. The Oxytrol for Women approval comes on the heels of the FDA approval of Botox to treat overactive bladder. Botox, for injection into the bladder muscle, was approved for both men and women who don't respond to anticholinergics.

Source: FDA News Releases, 1/25/13 & 1/18/13; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 05 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 06 Feb 2015