Urinary incontinence is a symptom of general lifestyle habits resulting in the loss of bladder control which leads to involuntary urination. According to the study ‘URINARY INCONTINENCE GLOBAL CLINICAL TRIALS REVIEW, H1, 2018’, the severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine on coughing or sneezing to having an urge to urinate that is so sudden and strong that you cannot get to a toilet in time. Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence is not an inevitable consequence of aging. For affected people, simple lifestyle changes or medical treatment can ease discomfort or stop urinary incontinence.
Medications are available for people with bladder control issues. Anticholinergics are drugs that block the action of the chemical messenger acetylcholine in the central or peripheral nervous system responsible for sending signals to the brain that cause abnormal bladder contractions associated with overactive bladder. These drugs are widely used to tackle other ailments as well which include depression, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy among others. It is well known that anticholinergics affect cognition and guidelines suggest they are to be avoided among frail elderly people. Over the past years prolonged exposure to anticholinergic drugs has been linked to long term cognitive decline including dementia. However, these studies have been limited in their ability to determine if the increased risk is specific to the anticholinergic action or not. However, recent studies by BMJ company reveal that anticholinergic drugs can significantly increase the susceptibility to dementia. CNN Health and PsychCentral studies also support these findings.
Mirabegron, marketed in the US as Myrbetriq, is a medication that relaxes the bladder muscles and can increase the amount of urine the bladder can hold. It may also increase the amount a person is able to urinate at one time, emptying the bladder more completely. This drug reacts with other medication and recent experimentation has led to some developments in this respect. In May 2018, Tokyo based Astellas Pharma Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the use of mirabegron in combination with the muscarinic antagonist, solifenacin succinate for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urinary incontinence. Astellas Pharma Inc. is a Japanese company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products with urology being one of its focus sectors. The experts of their urology department believe that OAB patients may have symptoms that may not be fully managed by their current treatment but with the FDA approval of Myrbetriq in combination with solifenacin succinate, Astellas will be able to offer an additional treatment option to such people. These results have been based on data from the global Phase 3 SYNERGY 1, SYNERGY 2 and BESIDE studies. These studies had evaluated combination therapy with mirabegron and solifenacin succinate. These results are also proving safe as a controlled clinical safety study did not demonstrate increased urinary retention in Myrbetriq patients however, there have been other side effects noted.
Urinary incontinence treatment drugs have revealed new long term effects. Such effects are further being studied to give a deeper understanding to researchers. Since the most popular drugs are affecting the nervous system, their true potential is being carefully realized and approved, for safe use, by institutions such as FDA. Pharmaceutical companies such as Astellas which is combining internal capabilities with external expertise in the medical field appear at the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications