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What should I know before taking a urinary anticholinergic?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Urinary anticholinergics may take weeks to reach their full effectiveness. For this reason, some experts recommend trying one for at least 4 weeks before trying a higher dosage or a different drug. If one drug does not work well enough or if it has unpleasant effects, another one may work better.

If you take oxybutynin or trospium, you should avoid alcohol. 

If you have a history of QT interval prolongation, a urinary anticholinergic may not be a good option for you.

If you have gastric retention, you should not take a urinary anticholinergic. If you have another gastric condition, a urinary anticholinergic may not be a good option for you.

If you have impaired kidney function or impaired liver function, a urinary anticholinergic may not be a good option for you.

If you have myasthenia gravis, a urinary anticholinergic may not be a good option for you.

If you have uncontrolled angle-closure glaucoma, you should not take a urinary anticholinergic. Even if your glaucoma is being treated, a urinary anticholinergic may not be a good option for you.

If you have urinary retention, you should not take a urinary anticholinergic.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.