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Drugs for Bladder Spasms

author image Carrie Cross
Carrie Cross has been writing for profit and pleasure for more than 35 years. Her background includes business, real estate, entrepreneurship, management, health and nutrition. A registered nurse, she has published various pieces, including web content, numerous newspaper and magazine articles and columns and six books.
Drugs for Bladder Spasms
A male pharmacist gives medication to a female customer. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas describes bladder spasms as the random contractions of the bladder muscles causing the urgent need to urinate. If urination does not occur, the contractions strengthen and an involuntary release of urine, or incontinence, occurs. Bladder spasms have a variety of names including irritable bladder, overactive bladder, unstable bladder, spasmodic bladder, and detrusor instability. Various drugs are available to help the bladder relax and retain urine.

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Detrol contains tolterodine, which encourages the bladder to retain urine by keeping the detrusor muscle of the bladder from contracting and pushing the urine out. Detrol is contraindicated in patients with urinary retention, gastric retention, or uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma. Side-effects are commonly dry mouth, abdominal pain, constipation and headache.


Ditropan, or oxybutynin chloride, is an antispasmodic that works on the smooth muscles of the bladder, increasing bladder capacity and decreasing the contractions of the bladder's detrusor muscle. This delays the need to urinate. It effectively treats urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and frequency. It should not be used in patients with urinary retention, severely decreased gastrointestinal motility conditions or myasthenia gravis, and with caution in cases of hepatic or renal impairment. Common side effects include dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea and constipation.


Enablex, or darifenacin, is used to treat overactive bladder with symptoms of urgency, urge urinary incontinence and increased urinary frequency. It is not recommended for patients with narrow-angled glaucoma or urinary or gastric retention. Heat prostration due to decreased perspiration is possible if this drug is used in a hot environment. Dry mouth, constipation and urinary tract infection are the most commonly reported side effects.

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