Taking Myrbetriq to Treat Overactive Bladder

An estimated 33 million Americans live with overactive or "gotta go, gotta go" bladder sensations. Half of these people will also have leakage of urine from their overactive bladder, leading to an uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing condition. For more than three decades, a class of medications called anticholinergics was the mainstay of treatment. Now, we have newer medications like Myrbetriq (mirabegron) and procedures like Botox bladder injections and bladder pacemakers (Interstim, Axonics) to treat overactive bladder. 

Overactive bladder or urge incontinence refers to overactivity of the detrusor muscle. The detrusor muscle is part of the bladder wall, and when it's overactive, it contracts too much, and leakage of urine may ensue. 

Overactive bladder is the most common form of urinary incontinence. Women with this condition feel an intense urge to urinate followed by uncontrollable leakage. Men experience similar symptoms, but leakage may not be as obvious due to an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy) or urethral obstruction.

Previous Treatment Options

Before the introduction of Myrbetriq, overactive bladder was treated using pelvic floor exercises (kegels) and biofeedback; lifestyle modification, such as weight loss or caffeine avoidance; onabotulinumtoxinA or Botox injection into the detrusor muscle; and antimuscarinic drugs such as Detrol (​tolterodine), Urotrol (oxybutynin), and solifenacin.

Antimuscarinic drugs work great to help symptoms but come with a long list of side effects, including: dry nose, dry mouth, constipation, and vision changes. The most feared side effect is cognitive decline or increase in dementia, which is why alternate treatments are preferred in elderly patients.

Benefits of Myrbetriq

Myrbetriq is much more specific in its actions than antimuscarinic drugs usually used to treat overactive bladder. Whereas antimuscarinic drugs have relatively poor aim and can affect various organ systems, Myrbetriq is more precise and affects mostly the bladder, which helps reduce the medication's side-effect profile.

Clinical Trial Results and Side Effects

During Phase II and Phase III clinical trials, Myrbetriq was tested in more than 10,500 participants. In these studies, participants showed a decrease in the volume of urine voided, number of urgency episodes, number of incontinence episodes and number of nocturia episodes (nighttime incontinence).

Although Myrbetriq has proven much more tolerable than antimuscarinic drugs, during clinical trials, some people still experienced adverse effects including:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Abdominal pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Cold-like symptoms

In August 2015, the FDA released guidance resulting from postmarketing experiences with Myrbetriq. After the drug was released to the public, some people experienced the following:

  • Nausea
  • Angioedema (swelling) of the face, tongue or larynx
  • Itchiness (pruritis)

Cases of angioedema secondary to the use of Myrbetriq could be life-threatening if the upper airway is closed off. If you experience angioedema or any other concerning symptoms after taking this medication, immediately call emergency services or seek out a physician who can help.

In addition to being more tolerable than antimuscarinic drugs in clinical trials, Myrbetriq has also been shown to improve the quality of life measures among people with overactive bladder. Overall, Myrbetriq appears to be a promising new way to treat overactive bladder especially among people who can't tolerate antimuscarinic drugs. Nevertheless, more research needs to be done before we exactly understand its nuances of treatment with Myrbetriq.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Chapple, CR. Mirabegron in Overactive Bladder: A Review of Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability. Neurourology and Urodynamics. 2013.
  • Harper G, Johnston C, Landefeld C. Geriatric Disorders. In: Papadakis MA, McPhee SJ, Rabow MW. eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2015. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.
  • Khullar V et al. Patient-Reported Outcomes With the b3-Adrenoceptor Agonist Mirabegron in a Phase III Trial in Patients With Overactive Bladder. Neurourology and Urodynamics. 2015. 
  • Myrbetriq (mirabegron) Extended-release Tablets. www.fda.gov.