Effectiveness of Combined Behavioral and Drug Therapy for Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Men: A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Mar 1;180(3):411-419. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6398.


Importance: First-line behavioral and drug therapies for overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms in men are effective but not usually curative.

Objective: To determine whether combining behavioral and drug therapies improves outcomes compared with each therapy alone for OAB in men and to compare 3 sequences for implementing combined therapy.

Design, setting, and participants: In this 3-site, 2-stage, 3-arm randomized clinical trial, participants were randomized to 6 weeks of behavioral therapy alone, drug therapy alone, or combined therapy followed by step-up to 6 weeks of combined therapy for all groups. Participants were recruited from 3 outpatient clinics and included community-dwelling men 40 years or older with urinary urgency and 9 or more voids per 24 hours. Data were collected from July 2010 to July 2015 and analyzed from April 2016 to September 2019.

Interventions: Behavioral therapy consisted of pelvic floor muscle training with urge suppression strategies and delayed voiding. Drug therapy included an antimuscarinic (sustained-release tolterodine, 4 mg) plus an α-blocker (tamsulosin, 0.4 mg).

Main outcomes and measures: Seven-day bladder diaries completed before and after each 6-week treatment stage were used to calculate reduction in frequency of urination (primary outcome) and other symptoms (ie, urgency, urgency incontinence, and nocturia). Other secondary outcomes included validated patient global ratings of improvement and satisfaction, Overactive Bladder Questionnaire score, and International Prostate Symptom Score.

Results: Of the 204 included men, 133 (65.2%) were white, and the mean (SD) age was 64.1 (11.1) years. A total of 21 men discontinued treatment and 183 completed treatment. Mean (SD) voids per 24 hours decreased significantly in all 3 groups from baseline to 6-week follow-up (behavioral therapy: 11.7 [2.4] vs 8.8 [2.1]; change, 2.9 [2.4]; percentage change, 24.7%; P < .001; drug therapy: 11.8 [2.5] vs 10.3 [2.7]; change, 1.5 [2.3]; percentage change, 12.7%; P < .001; combined therapy: 11.8 [2.4] vs 8.2 [2.3]; change, 3.6 [2.1]; percentage change, 30.5%; P < .001). Intention-to-treat analyses indicated that posttreatment mean (SD) voiding frequencies were significantly lower in those receiving combined therapy compared with drug therapy alone (8.2 [2.3] vs 10.3 [2.7]; P < .001) but not significantly lower compared with those receiving behavioral therapy alone (8.2 [2.3] vs 8.8 [2.1]; P = .19) and were lower for behavioral therapy alone compared with drug therapy alone (8.8 [2.1] vs 10.3 [2.7]; P < .001). At 12-week follow-up, after all groups had received combined therapy, improvements in mean (SD) voids per 24 hours were also greatest for those receiving initial combined therapy compared with baseline (behavioral therapy: 11.7 [2.4] vs 8.0 [2.2]; change, 3.7 [2.3]; percentage change, 31.6%; P < .001; drug therapy: 11.8 [2.5] vs 8.6 [2.3]; change, 3.2 [2.5]; percentage change, 27.1%; P < .001; combined therapy: 11.8 [2.4] vs 8.0 [2.2]; change, 3.8 [2.1]; percentage change, 32.2%; P < .001), but there were no statistically significant group differences on primary or secondary measures.

Conclusions and relevance: Combining behavioral and drug therapy yields greater improvements in OAB symptoms than drug therapy alone but not behavioral therapy alone. When using a stepped approach, it is reasonable to begin with behavioral therapy alone.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01175382.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tolterodine Tartrate / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / psychology
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / therapy*
  • Urinary Incontinence / drug therapy
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*
  • Urological Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Urological Agents
  • Tolterodine Tartrate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01175382