If you have an overactive bladder, the drug you're taking for it could destroy your memories
That's what new research has learned about the drug oxybutynin.
For years, doctors have been over-prescribing this drug used to treat overactive bladder. In fact, they prescribe it more than a quarter of the cases.
The new research analyzed evidence from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. In this survey, 1,968 patients were taking antimuscarinic medications. Almost all these patients were over the age of 65. And 27.3% of them were taking oxybutynin.
The study also found that most of the doctors prescribing the oxybutynin did not follow FDA recommendations regarding the drug. The FDA knows this drug causes adverse central nervous system side effects. So they tell doctors to closely monitor patients taking this drug. But only 9% of the elderly people taking the drug received a neurologic exam at the time of the prescription. That's complete negligence!
But it gets worse. Most of the doctors know the risk for cognitive decline is very real if their patients take this drug. And yet they still prescribe it and they don't monitor its use.
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One of the study authors explains why: "After lifestyle modifications, antimuscarinic medications constitute the most common first line therapies. In the United States, the majority of elderly persons are insured by Medicare. Medicare insurance plans often have tiered medication formularies to minimize drug expenses. Oxybutynin is the least expensive antimuscarinic drug available, but its pharmacologic properties may cause significant cognitive side effects in elderly persons. Despite evidence of these side effects, physicians are not commonly checking for cognitive effects in those using these medications."
In other words, government insurance is dictating what the doctors should prescribe — regardless of the side effects — because of cost. This is outrageous!
Once again, we see how insurance companies (especially government agencies) are destroying doctors' ability to treat their patients with common sense therapies. It's absurd to me that the "common first line therapy" used to treat overactive bladder is a drug. Most doctors don't spend enough time with their patients to determine whether lifestyle modifications will help. They may suggest them, but they can't take the time to really evaluate whether the patient is following through. All they can do is take the patient's word for it. And, of course, most people don't want to change their lifestyle, so they tell the doctor, "Well, I've tried, but it's just not working." And out comes the prescription pad.
True lifestyle modification can indeed help overactive bladder. The first steps are to lose weight, exercise, limit caffeine and alcohol, quit smoking, reduce salt intake (which I told you about on Tuesday), and manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that contribute to an overactive bladder. But when these don't work, drugs should never be the "first line therapy."
Instead, supplements should be the next step. Supplements, such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, isoquercetin, rutin, sodium hyaluronate, and marshmallow root, don't cause side effects, and they often work wonders for overactive bladder. You can find all of these nutrients and more in Advanced Bladder Support. If your bladder is overactive, don't start by taking drugs. Give this supplement a try and let me know how it works for you. I'll have more on these individual nutrients in future issues of Nutrient Insider.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.