Treating Overactive Bladder with Botox

While most of us know it as a wrinkle-smoother, Botox is expecting a big boost in sales over the next few months as providers as its use in the medical market expands.

Overactive bladders later this year could become the next big frontier for Botox, according to the company’s representatives. Overactive bladder is a condition caused by uncontrollable contractions of the bladder and results in frequent urination and the inability to control urination.

While there are many drugs on the market to help sufferers, they carry negative side-effects like constipation and dry mouth. Allergan, the company that manufactures Botox, is claiming that a single injection of Botox into the bladder can provide significant relief from overactive bladder symptoms for up to nine months and significantly improve quality of life. The company expects that US regulators will approve Botox for use in patients with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries who may be suffering from overactive bladder.

Dr. James Auman, of Chenault-Ostroff Urological Associates in Chesapeake, Virginia, considers Botox injections for overactive bladder a “last resort treatment” and has some misgivings about marketing the procedure as a cure-all. “Botox paralyzes the bladder muscle. While it may improve the patient’s quality of life,” Dr. Auman says, “the positive effects wear off in a few months, which means the injections have to be given numerous times.” Moreover, insurance usually does not pay for this kind of approach.

Botox has been approved as a treatment to prevent migraine headaches, to treat upper limb spasticity, neck pain from cervical dystonia and certain types of eye muscle problems and spasms of the eyelids. But when it comes to bladder conditions, Dr. Auman advises any patient seeking this treatment to find a sub- specialist who has extensive experience with intravesical botox.

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Source: Reuters, “Overactive Bladder Next Botox Frontier”

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