What Medications Cause Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder can be a side effect of some medications. Certain medications can cause involuntary contractions in the bladder, which leads to urine incontinence. The person may not be able to control their urges to urinate, which may develop frequently, without any indication.

According to the Healthline website, the types of prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs that can cause overactive bladder are given below:


These are also known as water pills, which are used for the treatment of heart diseases and hypertension (high blood pressure). These pills help to eliminate excess fluids from the body. They prevent fluid retention in the body. Fluid retention can lead to damage to the heart and arteries because it increases the blood volume, which makes the heart get the blood pumped throughout the body with greater force.

The force exerted by the heart to pump the blood is very high, which can cause damage. So, diuretics help in the excretion of excess fluids from the body through urine. This can put pressure on the bladder to receive the fluids repeatedly to get it discarded from the body. This is how these medications can cause an overactive bladder.

Blood pressure medications

According to the study and research done by the National Institutes of Health, certain medications used for keeping blood pressure in the safe range can lead to an overactive bladder. These medications include:

  • Beta-blockers – These medications can enhance the relaxation of the bladder muscles and increase the bladder capacity. These pills can contribute to involuntary bladder action.
  • Calcium channel blockers – These drugs can increase urine volume due to their ability to decrease bladder contractions. This causes urinary retention, which makes the individual urinate more frequently.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors – These drugs can interfere with the ability of bladder contraction. Their effects can affect the bladder muscles and their action.
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – These drugs can also lead to unintentional loss of urine. Their effects can also cause urgency to urine frequently.

Psychotropic drugs

Certain types of psychotropic medications can affect the bladder function and cause frequent urination. The drugs that can cause an overactive bladder are as follows:

  • Antidepressants – These drugs cause urinary retention and can impair the bladder’s ability to contract and evacuate itself. This can give rise to the symptoms of overflow incontinence due to the failure to empty the bladder.
  • Mood stabilizers – These are lithium drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder, which causes extreme and unusual mood shifts.These pills regulate mood. Their side effects can potentiate the risk of urine incontinence.
  • Antipsychotic drugs – These drugs are prescribed for treating schizophrenia. The side effects can lead to urine incontinence.

Individuals consuming any of these drugs are more likely to experience a condition like an overactive bladder, which is one of their side effects. They may develop an urgent need to rush to the toilet to pass urine. This problem is mostly experienced during the nighttime, which keeps them awake all night.

Such people are subject to embarrassment because of their inability to hold the pressure of urine. The urine might even leak, which affects the social life big time. Women after menopause are more likely to develop overactive bladder due to the reduction in the estrogen levels in their body. They are more prone to such a condition in comparison to men.

Moreover, there are various other factors that can trigger the symptoms of urine incontinence and medications are one of them. Various other factors leading to involuntary bladder movement are:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Neurological disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors and stones in kidneys and bladder
  • Hormonal changes
  • Prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Symptoms of Overactive bladder

  • Sudden uncontrollable urge to pass the urine.
  • Frequent need to urinate several times, especially at nighttime.
  • Unintentional and untimely leaking of urine, known as urine incontinence.
  • Nocturia, which requires you to wake up several times at night to pass urine.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, then see your doctor immediately. They will conduct a general physical examination and if it is confirmed that you are experiencing involuntary bladder contractions, then they will perform diagnostic tests to identify the reason behind urinary difficulties.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your doctor will suggest several tests to check the urine flow rate, the volume of urine left in the bladder after passing the urine, and the pressure exerted on the bladder at the time it gets filled with fluids. Once the reports arrive, the treatment will begin. Also, your doctor will refer you to some specialist, who can decide the treatment. The treatment will include a combination of various treatments.

Various treatment options available for treatment of overactive bladder are listed below:

  • Behavioral therapies – Kegel or pelvic floor exercise, attaining healthy weight, Biofeedback, intermittent catheterization, etc.
  • Medications
  • Bladder injections
  • Nerves stimulation
  • Surgical procedure

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