Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) in women adversely affects quality of life.
Purpose: To conduct a systematic literature review of drugs for urgency UI in women.
Data sources: MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, SCIRUS, and Google Scholar were searched for articles published from 1966 to November 2011.
Study selection: Randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) reported in English.
Data extraction: Rates of outcomes and risk of bias were extracted by using a standardized form to pool absolute risk differences and calculate the number of attributable events per 1000 patients treated, with 95% CIs.
Data synthesis: 94 RCTs were eligible. Pooled analyses showed that among drugs for urgency UI, per 1000 treated women, continence was restored in 130 with fesoterodine (CI, 58 to 202), 85 with tolterodine (CI, 40 to 129), 114 with oxybutynin (CI, 64 to 163), 107 with solifenacin (CI, 58 to 156), and 114 with trospium (CI, 83 to 144). Rates of treatment discontinuation due to adverse effects were 31 per 1000 treated with fesoterodine (CI, 10 to 56), 63 with oxybutynin (CI, 12 to 127), 18 with trospium (CI, 4 to 33), and 13 with solifenacin (CI, 1 to 26). The studies' inconsistent definitions of reduction in UI and quality of life hampered synthesis of evidence.
Limitation: Evidence for quality-of-life improvements and comparative effectiveness with drugs was limited, and evidence for the effects of race, baseline severity of UI, and comorbid conditions on treatment success was insufficient.
Conclusion: Overall, drugs for urgency UI showed similar small benefit. Therapeutic choices should consider the harms profile. Evidence for long-term adherence and safety of treatments is lacking.