Not everyone needs medicine to treat overactive bladder syndrome (OAB), however, if you are having difficulty controlling your condition with lifestyle changes alone, your doctor may suggest a treatment plan for you that may include taking a prescription medicine. You should follow the prescription instructions exactly as they are written. It is also important that you ask your doctor about what you can expect from this medicine. Along with the medicine you may be prescribed to take, you should continue with the recommended lifestyle changes.

There are two classes of treatment available, one class works on the storage phase of the micturition (urine) cycle, while the other class works on the voiding (emptying) phase.

Both of these treatment classes are generally very effective at relieving symptoms, but like all medicines they may cause side effects. If you are experiencing any side effects it’s important that you tell your doctor immediately. They may be able to adjust the dose of your medicine, or – if necessary – explore other treatment options.

Be patient

It may be that you have already been on treatment. If you have stopped taking it, or found that your symptoms persist, you should return to your doctor or healthcare professional to discuss alternative treatment options.

Your condition probably developed over time and your treatment may take some weeks to improve symptoms. It is important to remember that sometimes medication can take several weeks before it achieves full effect, although some people notice an improvement within a week. Treatments work differently for each individual and may not work for everyone. If you have any concerns speak to your doctor, nurse or continence advisor.

Some people who find their symptoms are helped by medication begin to wonder if they can stop taking it after a specific period of time. Your doctor or other healthcare professional will be able to advise you but it is likely that you will need to continue taking your medicine to keep you free of symptoms.

A common assumption is that when you get one month’s prescription it’s like a course of antibiotics, and that you can stop taking the treatment and be ‘cured’. This is not the case with medicines that treat OAB and stress urinary incontinence. You will need to take the treatment for longer so your doctor will usually provide you with a repeat prescription.

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