Oxybutynin (Transdermal)

Overview

Transdermal oxybutynin is an antispasmodic used to help patients who are experiencing problems with an overactive bladder, such as an excessive need to urinate or an inability to control the bladder's functions (also known as incontinence). It works by cutting down on the number of muscle spasms your bladder experiences.

This medication comes in two different formats, either as a jelly/gel-type substance or as an extended release patch.

If you opt for the Oxytrol® for Women skin patch form of this medication, it can be purchased over the counter, which means it does not require a prescription. If you are looking for the Oxytrol® for Men skin patch or the gel form of this medication, you must consult your doctor, as these formats are only available with a prescription from a physician.

This medication has a number of brand names in the US, which means you may see it referred to by these labels in pharmacies, stores, information booklets and more. These brand names are Gelnique, Anturol and Oxytrol.

Conditions Treated

  • Overactive bladder

Type Of Medicine

  • Antispasmodic

Side Effects

As with all drugs, while they may treat the main problems you are experiencing, they may also cause unwanted additional problems. These are known as side effects.

The first category of potential side effects associated with this drug include those that require you to seek the assistance of a medical professional right away. Some of the more common side effects in this category include problems relating to your bladder, such as cloudy urine, blood in the urine or pain in the bladder region. Other symptoms in this category include skin problems, such as rashes, a burning sensation or a sore feeling around where you stuck on the patch or rubbed in the gel.

Some conditions in this category still require you to visit a physician, but are less common. These include a number of stomach-related issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, pain in the abdomen or a decreased appetite.

The second category of side effects associated with this drug contains those that do not ordinarily require medical attention. The only circumstances in which you would need to consult a doctor for these problems are those where the symptoms do not go away after a short while, or if they are causing you significant pain. Some of the more common side effects in this category include a lost voice, coughing, problems breathing, experiencing chills or aches in your body and headaches.

Some side effects in this category still do not usually require medical attention, but are considered less frequent than those mentioned above. These include stomach and digestion problems like constipation, feelings of being bloated, lots of gas and feeling full up. Other problems, such as feeling tired or experiencing pain in your back, are also in this category.

Remember, this list of possible side effects is not exhaustive. As a result, you should check the full list provided with your medication and speak to a healthcare professional if you have any questions.

Not all patients get the same side effects, so you should not expect that you will experience every side effect listed above, though there is a chance this could happen.

Dosage

Your physician will give you precise instructions on how much of this medication to take, and you should always follow this. It is also important that you follow the other instructions given to you by your physician, including those about the frequency with which you should take this medication and for what duration your treatment will last.

However, some standard dosage information has been made available for information purposes only. This should be used as a guide, and should never be used in place of instructions from a qualified physician.

For adults who are taking this medication in its gel format, the dosage you will often be prescribed depends on the brand you are taking. Adults taking Gelnique will usually be told to apply the gel once per day on to a patch of skin that is dry and not broken. Those taking Anturol, meanwhile, will usually be told to apply 84 milligrams (mg), or three pumps, of the gel once per day, again on to unbroken and dry skin. Children who need to take this medication will usually have their dosage worked out by a physician.

Adults who are taking this medication in its patch format will usually be asked to place a fresh patch on to their skin twice per week, so it will need to be refreshed once every three to four days. If children need to take this drug, the dosage will be worked out by a physician.

In the event that you forget to apply one of your patches, you should put it on once you remember. However, if it is nearly time to add a new patch, then you should simply wait until then and skip the patch you forgot to apply. You should never apply an additional patch to compensate for the missed one.

Similarly, if you forget to apply your gel, you should apply it when you remember, unless it is almost time for the next dosage, in which case you should skip the missed one.

There are a number of specific instructions in place for the successful application of transdermal oxybutynin. For those who are taking this medication in its skin patch format, you should use it as you are told to by your physician and not make any changes to these rules. However, for information purposes, there are some guidelines on how to apply it:

  • Prior to putting the skin patch on to your fingers in advance of (and again after) applying it, you should wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap. It's important to not touch your eye area until you have done this.
  • As soon as you remove the patch from its packaging, you should apply it straight away. You should avoid touching the surface of the patch and you should also not rip or cut the patch.
  • When selecting an area on which to apply the patch, you should choose from your hips, buttocks or stomach. The area you select should be free from dirt and it should be an unbroken area of skin that is dry, devoid of cuts and scars or other skin irritations, and which does not have much (or any) hair.
  • If you plan to wear tight clothes while using this medication, you should avoid applying this patch in places where the clothes could, in theory, rub it off.
  • The patch should then be applied with your fingers. The area around the sides of the patch should stick to your skin firmly.

When it comes to adding a new patch, you should remove the one that is no longer in use before adding a new one. You should also select a new area (within the zones outlined above) for every new patch you put on your body, and you should never add the latest patch to the same place that the older, removed one was stuck to.

For those who are taking their transdermal oxybutynin in gel format, the instructions are slightly different:

  • Before taking this medication, you should begin by cleaning your hands using water, as well as soap. You should also do this after you take it.
  • In addition, before you take it, you should clean the part of the body on which you plan to apply the gel, such as the shoulders, stomach or upper arms, using water and a mild soap. After this, you should rinse the soap off and dry the area by patting it down.
  • You should take one pack of gel, rip it open and then squeeze everything inside the packet either straight on to the part of the body on which you plan to apply it or into your hand so that you can rub it in. When rubbing, remember to be gentle and to continue rubbing until the area is dry.
  • When applying this gel, it is important to ensure you avoid placing it on the same exact part of the skin where you applied it last time.
  • In addition, you should cover up the area on which you applied the medication with a dry cloth once the medication has dried to prevent accidentally transferring your medication to someone else.
  • Finally, you should allow one hour to elapse after taking this medication if you plan to take a shower or bath or do any form of exercise, including swimming.

Interactions

Once inside the human body, transdermal oxybutynin can interact with other medications and substances. Because this can cause you problems, your physician needs to know what medications you are currently taking, including both over the counter medications and prescribed ones. That way, they can make an informed decision about whether to change the configuration of your current medication in order to allow you to take this drug safely.

Some of the medications known to interact seriously with this drug include donepezil, Benadryl (known as diphenhydramine) and oxycodone. Other drugs, such as metoprolol tartrate (also known simply as metoprolol), can interact in only a moderate way.

Warnings

As with many medications, transdermal oxybutynin comes with a number of warnings designed to keep you safe while you take this medicine.

These warnings are usually published in the booklet which accompanies your medication. You should read through all of these warnings, even if you are not sure whether they will apply to you. This is to prevent accidentally missing any that are relevant.

It is possible that your body will sweat less when you take this medication. If this occurs, your body temperature will increase, so you should avoid becoming too hot. Take care when out in hot weather or when exercising while using this medication.

You should not use skin care gels, pastes or other products or any cosmetic items in the area on which you apply this medication. However, you can still use sunscreen products while taking transdermal oxybutynin.

It is recommended that you do not consume alcohol while taking transdermal oxybutynin.

It is possible that your mouth will become particularly dry when using this medication, as could other related regions of your body, such as your throat or nose. In the event that you experience mouth dryness, you should take steps to reduce your symptoms. For example, you could melt an ice cube inside your mouth or you could invest in some chewing gum. You should speak to your physician, however, if your mouth dryness continues for two weeks or longer.

Remember that this list is not intended to be exhaustive, and as a result you should consult the full list of warnings in order to locate any which are relevant to you.

Storage

This medication needs to be stored in the correct way in order to ensure it does not either get damaged or become accessible to children or other people.

Firstly, it should be stored in a location where it will not be subjected to problematic environmental conditions, such as high levels of moisture or excessive heat or light. In addition, it should be kept in a container, and this container should be kept closed and stored at room temperature. This drug should never be frozen.

Ensure that this medication is stored in a location where it cannot be accessed by children. Even if you do not have children living in your household, you should still store it out of their reach, in case a child comes to visit and you do not remember to move it.

It is vital that you follow your physician's instructions when taking this medication, and this means you should not stop taking it during the prescribed course of your treatment unless your physician advises you to do this. If, however, you do at any point find yourself with an excess of transdermal oxybutynin that you no longer need, you should take steps to dispose of it appropriately. If you are uncertain of how to go about doing this, you should consult a healthcare professional who will be able to advise.

There are some specific instructions regarding the disposal of transdermal oxybutynin if you are taking it in its patch format. Once you have finished using a patch and you have removed it from your body, you should fold it in half so that the sides that are sticky are stuck to each other. Following this, you should make sure you throw it away in a place where it cannot be accessed by children or animals.

Summary

As a transdermal antispasmodic, this medication is used to treat problems relating to the bladder, such as the frequent need to urinate. By reducing the number of spasms experienced in that area, this medication helps the patient to regain control over their bladder's functions. This medication is only available with a prescription from a physician, unless you opt for the Oxytrol for Women skin patch, which is available over the counter.

This medication may cause a number of side effects. Some of these potential side effects, such as nausea or a decreased appetite, require you to visit your physician immediately. Other side effects, such as back pain or feeling bloated, only require a visit to a healthcare professional if they persist or cause you problems.

The exact dosage of this medication may vary depending on what your physician says, and while there is some general dosage information available, this should never overrule your physician's instructions. Because this medication is available in gel and skin patch formats, there are specific instructions regarding the application of the drug that you must follow in order to ensure you use it correctly and get the most out of it. If you miss a dose of this medication, you should take it as soon as you can, unless it is almost time for your next dose, in which case you should skip the missed dose.

This medication can cause interactions with other drugs once inside the human body. For that reason, you should always tell your physician what drugs you are currently taking, so they can ensure you are kept safe while using this medication.

This medication comes with a number of warnings that are usually printed on the information booklet inside the box. You should read these and retain this leaflet for further use.

Store this medication in a closed container that is located out of the reach of children. Prevent this medication from being damaged by adverse environmental conditions, such as high levels of heat and light. If you are unsure how to dispose of it properly, speak to a healthcare professional.