Drugs & Aging

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 559–567 | Cite as

Managing Urinary Incontinence in Patients with Dementia: Pharmacological Treatment Options and Considerations

  • Susie Orme
  • Vikky Morris
  • William Gibson
  • Adrian WaggEmail author
Review Article


Urinary incontinence and lower urinary tract symptoms are highly prevalent in late life and are strongly associated with dementia and frailty. Incontinence is extremely common among those living in long-term care and is most commonly due to urgency incontinence. Although national and international guidelines for continence care exist, they often fail to consider the complex comorbidity found in patients with dementia and are often not followed; continence practices in long-term care may promote rather than prevent incontinence. The majority of those with dementia living in the community can be managed successfully with standard treatments, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological; the expectations and aims of treatment of both the patient and their caregivers should be considered. A dementia diagnosis does not preclude management of incontinence, but treatment options may be more limited in those with advanced dementia who are unable to retain information and modify behaviors. High-quality data to guide the choice of pharmacological agent in those with dementia are lacking. Oxybutynin has been shown to have significant adverse cognitive effects, but data to support the use of trospium, solifenacin, darifenacin, and fesoterodine are limited. No data are available for mirabegron. Neither age, frailty, nor dementia should be considered a barrier to pharmacological management, but consideration should be given to the total anticholinergic load. Evidence to guide the treatment of incontinence in this vulnerable patient group is scarce, and available guidelines adapted for each individual’s situation should be applied.


Urinary Incontinence Nursing Home Resident Cholinesterase Inhibitor Oxybutynin Tolterodine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Conflicts of interest

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest that relate directly to the writing or production of this article.

Susie Orme has received speaker honoraria from and acted as a consultant for Astellas Pharma UK and Pfizer UK. William Gibson has received speaker honoraria from Pfizer Canada and Astellas Pharma Canada. Vikky Morris has received speaker honoraria from Astellas Pharma UK. Adrian Wagg has received speaker honoraria from Pfizer Europe, Pfizer Canada, Astellas Pharma Canada, and SCA; research support from Astellas Pharma and Pfizer Canada; has acted as a consultant for Pfizer Canada, Pfizer Corp, SCA, Astellas Pharma, and Astellas Pharma Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susie Orme
    • 1
  • Vikky Morris
    • 2
  • William Gibson
    • 3
  • Adrian Wagg
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation TrustBarnsleyUK
  2. 2.Musgrove Park Hospital Foundation TrustTauntonUK
  3. 3.Division of Geriatric MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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