Falls risk reduction and treatment of overactive bladder symptoms with antimuscarinic agents: a scoping review

Neurourol Urodyn. 2011 Apr;30(4):490-4. doi: 10.1002/nau.21051. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Aims: Overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms are associated with falls and fractures in older adults and treatment with antimuscarinic agents may decrease this falls risk. Bladder-specific antimuscarinic agents may also adversely affect falls risk because of drug-related cognitive impairment. Thus, a tension between effective treatment, falls risk reduction, and increased falls risk is created. We conducted a scoping review to determine whether sufficient studies exist to warrant a full systematic review of falls risk reduction through treatment of OAB and to identify gaps in current research.

Methods: Using an iterative scoping approach, a search of electronic databases was undertaken using key terms. Studies in any setting of older adults who had fallen or were at risk for falls and were provided pharmacological treatment of OAB to reduce of falls or falls risk were sought. Relevant articles were identified, reviewed, and used to map research activity regarding the pharmacological treatment of OAB in older adults and its relationship to falls and falls risk reduction.

Results: Only one study met our initial inclusion criteria. Six additional studies were useful in identification research gaps, particularly in terms of outcome measures.

Conclusions: Insufficient evidence exists to recommend antimuscarinic treatment as a strategy for falls reduction, and the contribution of such agents to increased falls risk is unclear. Future studies of antimuscarinic agents for OAB must include measures of falls and falls risk and cognitive effects.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Risk
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / drug therapy*


  • Muscarinic Antagonists