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Dementia drugs trigger an overactive bladder

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An overactive bladder is a common problem when you get older—but it may not all be down to old age.  Drugs for dementia and Alzheimer’s could also be a cause.

The drugs—known as cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI)—can all cause the problem, some more than others.

Donepezil, the most commonly prescribed ChEI, raises the chances of an overactive bladder by 13 percent, while another, galantamine, has a negligible effect, causing just a 2 percent increased risk.

Researchers from the University of Houston had looked at the drugs’ impact on 524,978 dementia patients.  Their findings also explain why patients on an ChEI are regularly given an anti-muscarinic drug, which can help control the bladder.

(Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2021; doi: 10.1111/jgs.17579)

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