Anticholinergics effective for overactive bladder syndrome

Clinical question: 
Should I use anticholinergics to treat overactive bladder syndrome in adults?
Bottom line: 
The use of anticholinergic drugs by men and women with overactive bladder syndrome results in statistically significant improvements in symptoms, and a modest improvement in quality of life ratings. On average, people taking anticholinergic medication for overactive bladder syndrome had about 5 less trips to the toilet and 4 less leakage episodes every week (NNT* 4-8). Caution is needed with the frail elderly who are more at risk of side effects. * NNT = number needed to treat to benefit one individual.
Caveat: 
It is not clear whether any benefits are sustained during long term treatment or after treatment stops. About 1 in 3 people taking the drugs reported a dry mouth but for most this was not sufficiently troublesome for them to stop treatment (NNH** 1-10).
Context: 
A person who voids more than 8 times in 24 hours is considered to have frequency. About 16 per cent of adults over 40 years old have symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome (urgency with frequency and/or urge incontinence).
Review CD#: 
CD003781
PEARLS No: 
7
Date: 
July, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy