To depict the recent advances in the field of pharmacological treatment of idiopathic overactive bladder (iOAB).
A literature search was conducted, using the PubMed/Medline database. Articles were included if published as full papers, after 2008 and before September 2012, and focused on recent pharmacologic treatment options for iOAB management. Publications having the highest level of evidence have been analyzed to summarize the available evidence, prioritizing the treatments available in France.
Some meta-analyses have been published between 2008 and 2012, gathering information about 82 level 1 evidence studies about efficacy and safety of anticholinergics. According to the most recent meta-analysis, anticholinergics have proved their efficacy for iOAB management, reducing the number of micturitions per day by up to 1.59, the number of incontinence episodes per day by up to 0.7, the number of urgency episodes by up to 1.7, the number of urgency incontinence episodes by up to 2.25, and the number of nocturnal voids by up to 0.24. Safety profile was good, especially for solifenacin and fesoterodine, supported by strong scientific evidence. However, data were limited to short-term follow-up, with no anticholinergic drug superior to another. Few data were available about observance, risk factors for failure and results in specific populations. Anticholinergics can be used safely for management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men, but their role is still to be determined. Data about innovative drugs were still preliminary.
Anticholinergics are a valuable option for management of iOAB, and have a growing role in management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men without bladder outlet obstruction.