Hyperreflexia is the most common urological finding in patients with multiple sclerosis. A prospective randomized study was done to compare the effectiveness of 2 commonly used drugs, oxybutynin and propantheline. Of the 34 patients entered into the trial 19 were treated with oxybutynin and 15 with propantheline. The urological symptoms (frequency, nocturia, hesitancy, urgency and urge incontinence) were graded according to severity from 0 to 3. Patients with urinary infection were excluded. Urodynamic examination, consisting of cystometrography and electromyography, was performed in all patients before treatment. Both groups of patients had comparable neurological, urological and urodynamic status before treatment. In 4 patients (21 per cent) treated with oxybutynin and in 4 (27 per cent) treated with propantheline side effects were so severe that the treatment had to be discontinued. Symptomatic response to oxybutynin was good in 10 patients (67 per cent), fair in 2 (13 per cent) and poor in 3 (20 per cent). Propantheline produced good symptomatic results in 4 patients (36 per cent), fair in 1 (9 per cent) and poor in 6 (55 per cent). The mean increase in maximum cystometric capacity on cystometrography was significantly larger in the oxybutynin group than in the propantheline group (144 +/- 115 versus 35 +/- 101). Our results indicate that oxybutynin is more effective than propantheline in the treatment of detrusor hyperreflexia in patients with multiple sclerosis.