Botox can be used for more than just cosmetic enhancement. Recently, Allergan, Inc. announced that it’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat symptoms of overactive bladder.
According to Dr. Hylton Joffee, chief of the reproductive and urologic products division of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Botox injections have been shown to significantly reduce episodes of overactive bladder.
“Today’s approval provides an important additional treatment option for patients with overactive bladder, a condition that affects an estimated 33 million men and women in the United States,” he added.
What is overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder is a common condition characterized by sudden bladder contractions which lead to uncontrollable urges to urinate. For some men and women, these urges result in an involuntary loss of urine.
While there are several possible contributing factors (e.g., certain medications, neurological disorders, and bladder abnormalities), the specific cause of overactive bladder is often unknown.
Most Common Symptoms of Overactive Bladder:
- Urinary urgency – Inability to postpone the need to urinate
- Urge incontinence – Urine leakage following an urge to urinate
- Frequent urination – 8 or more times per day
- Nocturia – the urge to urinate at least 2 times per night
The effects of untreated urinary incontinence can be very embarrassing and isolating, leading to difficulties in both work and social environments.
Botox for Overactive Bladder
Prior to FDA approval, a new treatment method must perform well under rigorous testing. The safety and effectiveness of Botox for overactive bladder was verified in two clinical trials involving more than 1,100 patients diagnosed with the condition.
While participating, patients received either a placebo (inactive substance) or Botox. Over the course of three months, researchers found that patients receiving Botox injections experienced significantly fewer episodes of urge incontinence.
It’s important to remember that like wrinkle treatments, Botox only provides temporary relief. Regular treatments will be necessary to provide long-lasting results.
Most Common Side-Effects of Botox for Overactive Bladder:
- Urinary tract infections
- Painful urination
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
Botox is ideal for patients who have not responded to other treatments. Patients who currently have a urinary tract infection should not use Botox as a treatment for overactive bladder.