Enablex (Darifenacin) – Oral

What Is Enablex?

Enablex (darifenacin) is a prescription drug used to treat bladder spasms and urinary incontinence associated with an overactive bladder. It belongs to the drug class called anticholinergics.

Enablex works by blocking a specific receptor in the bladder to stop symptoms of bladder overactivity. This improves your ability to control the urge and rate of urination.

It is only available as an extended-release film-coated tablet. 

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Darifenacin
Brand Name: Enablex
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Oral
Therapeutic Classification: Urinary antispasmodic
Available Generically: Yes
Controlled Substance: N/A
Active Ingredient: Darifenacin
Dosage Form(s): Extended-release tablet

What Is Enablex Used For?

Enablex is a prescription drug that treats overactive bladder with urinary urgency and loss of bladder control.

An overactive bladder can lead to the frequent, sudden urge to pee accompanied by loss of bladder control or incontinence (accidentally leaking urine). This happens when the bladder muscles squeeze too often and at the wrong times. Enablex is a strong anticholinergic medication that helps reduce these symptoms by controlling bladder overactivity.

How to Take Enablex

Take once daily by mouth with a full glass of water. Take it at the same time of day, with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, chew, or break it. Talk to your healthcare provider if you cannot swallow your medicine whole. 

Based on your response, your healthcare provider may increase your dose (amount) of Enablex.

Storage

Store Enablex at room temperature (about 68 to 77 degrees F) and away from light. During short periods, you may store it between cool and mildly hot temperatures (between 59 and 86 degrees). Keep your tablets in a dry place; do not store them in your bathroom. Keep it away and out of reach of children and pets. 

Discard all unused and expired drugs. Do not toss them down the drain or the toilet. If you have questions about the best ways of disposing of your medicine, ask your pharmacist. Check out local drug take-back programs in your area.

How Long Does Enablex Take to Work?

It takes about seven hours for Enablex to peak in the body and about two weeks to see significant symptom improvements. If you do not feel better after two weeks, contact your healthcare provider. They may increase your dose or reevaluate your symptoms.

What Are the Side Effects of Enablex?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Some people may have little or no side effects while on Enablex. However, talk to your healthcare provider if you notice any adverse effects after starting it, especially if symptoms become bothersome or don't go away. The most common side effects of Enablex are:

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.

On rare occasions, Enablex may cause severe and sometimes deadly side effects. Call your healthcare provider promptly if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Urinary retention (inability to empty your bladder)
  • Severe constipation or stomach pain
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations 
  • Change in eyesight, such as blurred vision
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) with symptoms like pain or burning when passing urine (dysuria), blood urine, lower stomach or pelvic pain
  • Dizziness
  • Not sweating when hot or warm
  • Signs of an allergic reaction like angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat)

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term use of Enablex may significantly decrease cognitive function. It may also increase the risk of new-onset dementia.

Report Side Effects

Enablex may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Enablex Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
    • To treat bladder problems:
      • Adults—At first, 7.5 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

Take the missed dose once you remember. If it is too close to your next dose, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular dosing frequency. Do not take extra or double the quantity.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Enablex?

Only take as much Enablex as prescribed. Overdose symptoms may include a change in eyesight, including blurry vision.

What Happens If I Overdose on Enablex?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Enablex, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Enablex, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.

Darifenacin may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called angioedema. Angioedema may be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, a large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs, trouble with breathing, or chest tightness while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or have blurred vision. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy, not alert, or not able to see well.

This medicine may make you sweat less, causing your body temperature to increase. Use extra care not to become overheated during exercise or hot weather while you are using this medicine, since overheating may result in heat stroke.

This medicine may cause constipation. Call your doctor if you get severe stomach pain or become constipated.

This medicine may cause dry mouth. For temporary relief of mouth dryness, use sugarless candy or gum, melt bits of ice in your mouth, or use a saliva substitute. However, if your mouth continues to feel dry for more than 2 weeks, check with your medical doctor or dentist.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Enablex? 

Avoid Enablex if you have or you are at risk of:

  • Urinary retention
  • Gastric retention (your stomach takes too long to empty)
  • Uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma (blocked drainage canal in your eye)

What Other Medications Interact With Enablex?

Significant drug interactions exist between Enablex and some other medicines. You may have worsening side effects if you take these drugs with Enablex.

Avoid taking Enablex with a drug called doxorubicin, as the combination can increase exposure to doxorubicin and cause treatment-related side effects.

Other drugs may interact with Enablex. If using them together is unavoidable, your healthcare provider may change the dosage of one of your medications.

The following medications can interact with Enablex:

This is not a complete list of all the drugs that may interact with Enablex. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns. Before starting treatment, tell your healthcare provider if you take any other prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you take.

What Medications Are Similar?

Other drugs used to treat overactive bladder like Enablex are:

Mirabegron causes less dry mouth but is not as effective as darifenacin in treating overactive bladder.

Focusing on cost, oxybutynin is cheaper than darifenacin and just as effective. Tolterodine and solifenacin are other more affordable alternatives.

Enablex does not interact with food, but food significantly reduces the absorption of trospium in your body. Unlike the other medications listed, mirabegron and tolterodine do not interact with grapefruit or citrus fruit juices.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Enablex used for?

    Enablex treats overactive bladder symptoms, such as urinary urgency and urge incontinence. It helps reduce these symptoms by blocking a specific receptor in the bladder to stop overactivity.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Enablex?

    Take the missed dose once you remember. If it is too close to your next dose, skip the missed dose. Return to your regular dosing frequency. Do not take extra doses or double the quantity.

  • What are some common side effects of Enablex?

    Some of the common side effects of Enablex include:

    • Upset stomach
    • Headache 
    • Heartburn 
    • Dry mouth
    • Constipation
    • UTIs
    • Flu-like symptoms
  • How does Enablex work?

    Enablex blocks a specific receptor in the bladder, causing lesser bladder spasms. This reduces the overactivity of your bladder and helps you to control the urge and how often you urinate.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Enablex?

Up to 50% of women experience urinary incontinence in their lifetime. The risk of an overactive bladder can increase with age, but it is not considered a normal part of aging. It is a health condition that can have a significant impact on your daily life.

Having less control of your bladder can be uncomfortable, tiresome, and sometimes embarrassing. Do not leave it untreated. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms or if your medication is not working.

In addition to taking your medicine regularly, practice pelvic muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, at least three times daily.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

11 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.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Enablex label.

  2. Sacomani CAR, Almeida FG, Silvinato A, Bernardo WM. Overactive bladder - pharmacological treatment. Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 20192;65(4):487-492. doi:10.1590/1806-9282.65.4.487

  3. MedlinePlus. Urge incontinence.

  4. Khullar V, Foote J, Seifu Y, Egermark M. Time-to-effect with darifenacin in overactive bladder: a pooled analysis. Int Urogynecol J. 2011;22(12):1573-8150. doi:10.1007/s00192-011-1522-0

  5. Lukacz ES. Patient education: urinary incontinence treatments for women (beyond the basics). UpToDate.

  6. Welk B, McArthur E. Increased risk of dementia among patients with overactive bladder treated with an anticholinergic medication compared to a beta-3 agonist: a population-based cohort study. BJU International. 2020;126(1):183-190. doi:10.1111/bju.15040

  7. Prescribers' Digital Reference. Darifenacin - drug summary.

  8. Bhangu GS, Kaur KP, Bansal D, Bansal R. Comparison of efficacy of mirabegron and darifenacin in overactive bladder- a prospective study. International Surgery Journal. 2020;8(1):196-200. doi:10.18203/2349-2902.isj20205665

  9. Perk S, Wielage RC, Campbell NL, et al. Estimated budget impact of increased use of mirabegron, a novel treatment for overactive bladder. JMCP. 2016;22(9):1072-1084. doi:10.18553/jmcp.2016.22.9.1072

  10. Paśko P, Rodacki T, Domagała-Rodacka R, Owczarek D. A short review of drug-food interactions of medicines treating overactive bladder syndrome. Int J Clin Pharm. 2016;38(6):1350-1356. doi:10.1007/s11096-016-0383-5

  11. Eapen R, Radomski S. Review of the epidemiology of overactive bladder. Res Rep Urol. 2016;8:71-76. doi: 10.2147/RRU.S102441

By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.