Past, Present and Future of Chemodenervation with Botulinum Toxin in the Treatment of Overactive Bladder

J Urol. 2017 Apr;197(4):982-990. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2016.11.092. Epub 2016 Nov 18.


Purpose: We systematically reviewed preclinical and clinical studies on bladder chemodenervation with onabotulinumtoxin A to highlight current limitations and future drug delivery approaches.

Materials and methods: We identified peer reviewed basic and clinical research studies of onabotulinumtoxin A in the treatment of neurogenic bladder and refractory idiopathic overactive bladder published between March 2000 and March 2016. Paired investigators independently screened 125 English language articles to identify controlled studies on onabotulinumtoxin A administration in the MEDLINE® database and abstracts presented at annual American Urological Association meetings. The review yielded an evidence base of more than 50 articles relevant to the approach of injection-free onabotulinumtoxin A chemodenervation.

Results: The efficacy and safety of intradetrusor injection of onabotulinumtoxin A for the treatment of overactive bladder are sensitive to injection volume and depth, and this issue has motivated researchers to study injection-free modes of drug delivery into the bladder. Urothelial denudation with protamine sulfate or dimethyl sulfoxide, liposome encapsulated onabotulinumtoxin A and other physical approaches are being studied to increase toxin permeability and avoid intradetrusor injections. Liposome encapsulated onabotulinumtoxin A enhances toxin activity while reducing its toxin degradation. The safety and efficacy of liposome encapsulated onabotulinumtoxin A were tested in a multicenter, placebo controlled study. Although this treatment successfully reduced urinary frequency and urgency, it did not significantly reduce urgency urinary incontinence episodes.

Conclusions: Intradetrusor injection of onabotulinumtoxin A is a safe and effective treatment as reported in several large multicenter, randomized controlled trials. Injection of the toxin into the bladder wall impairs afferent and efferent nerves, but injection-free drug delivery approaches only impair the bladder afferent nerves. Further studies are needed to develop better drug delivery platforms that overcome the drawbacks of intradetrusor injection, increase patient acceptance and reduce treatment costs.

Keywords: botulinum toxins; hydrogel; liposomes; nerve block; peptides.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Liposomes
  • Nerve Block / methods*
  • Nerve Block / trends*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / drug therapy*


  • Liposomes
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A
  • onabotulinum toxin A