The role of antimuscarinics in the management of men with symptoms of overactive bladder associated with concomitant bladder outlet obstruction: an update

Eur Urol. 2011 Jul;60(1):94-105. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2011.03.054. Epub 2011 Apr 9.


Context: This review focuses on the contemporary role of antimuscarinics in the management of men with symptoms of bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) and concomitant overactive bladder (OAB). Safety issues of antimuscarinics in this subpopulation of men are also reviewed.

Objective: We reviewed the current literature and performed an analysis of the efficacy, suitability, and the safety of antimuscarinics in this subpopulation of men.

Evidence acquisition: We performed a systematic search of Medline/PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for relevant articles published between 1990 and September 2010, restricted to studies in humans published in English. In addition, published abstracts presented at the annual meetings of the European Association of Urology, the American Urological Association, and the International Continence Society in the last decade (2000-2010) were hand-searched and evaluated. Each article's title and abstract were reviewed for their appropriateness and relevance to the use of antimuscarinics in patients with BOO and concomitant OAB. Relevant articles were fully reviewed and included in the final data acquisition.

Evidence synthesis: Treatment options include combination treatment with α-blockers and antimuscarinics, sequential use of α-blockers and antimuscarinics, monotherapy with antimuscarinics, and a combination of antimuscarinics and 5α-reductase inhibitors. The sequential use of α-blockers and antimuscarinics seems to be the most appropriate approach, and the use of antimuscarinics and α-blockers appears generally to be safe and efficacious. Data are insufficient for a possible stratification of patients for a specific sequence of the drugs reviewed.

Conclusions: This review infers that the existing data confirm the safety of antimuscarinics administered for the treatment of these patients. The efficacy of antimuscarinics has been proven in different trials regarding different storage symptom end points, but not all end points regarding OAB reached significance. All the reported trials are of short duration (4-12 wk) and include only men with low postvoid residual urine volumes at baseline (<200ml). Overall, the addition of an antimuscarinic to the treatment of a patient with BOO and concomitant OAB seems to offer an amelioration of the symptoms and a moderate improvement in quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / complications
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / complications
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / drug therapy*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Muscarinic Antagonists