Drugs can provoke urinary incontinence

A review of prior studies found that nursing home patients, already prone to overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, are often given medications that exacerbate those conditions.

Pharmaceutical researchers found that residents with incontinence were 40% more likely to have moderate to severe cognitive impairment. That's dangerous because some drugs given to alleviate dementia and Parkinson's symptoms may counteract the effect of antimuscarinic and anticholinergic treatments.

Just over 70% of residents received at least one anticholinergic medication, and medications that can cause or worsen urinary incontinence were used commonly. AChEIs, used to treat Alzheimer's, were prescribed at the same time as antimuscarinic treatment among 24% of residents with bladder issues.

When researchers accounted for severe mobility impairment, existing anticholinergic medications and AChEI treatments, they found only about 6% of residents with urinary problems were good candidates for antimuscarinic treatment.

Their review was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.