Table Of Contents
- What is Ditropan?
- What’s the Problem?
- What is Dementia?
- Dementia Symptoms
- Overactive Bladder Drugs and Dementia Risk: SUFU White Paper
- Study Links OAB Medications to Increased Dementia Risk
- What is Overactive Bladder Disorder?
- Advanced Age and Ditropan Risks
- Other Ditropan Side Effects
- Is There a Dementia Warning on the Ditropan Label?
- Do I Qualify to Participate in a Ditropan Lawsuit?
- Get a Free Ditropan Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
What is Ditropan?
Ditropan and Ditropan XL are prescription antispasmodic drugs that are used to treat overactive bladder (OAB) and other urinary conditions. The medications work by blocking muscarinic cholinergic transmission, which relaxes the muscles in the bladder to help decrease problems of urgency and frequent urination. Ditropan is manufactured and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 26, 2003.
What’s the Problem?
Several recent studies have found that by blocking muscarinic cholinergic transmission, Ditropan can interfere with memory and learning, particularly in the elderly population. Cognitive side effects occur when oxybutynin, the active ingredient in Ditropan, crosses the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.
Due to the fact that dementia is not a specific disease but rather a general term, its symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient. People with dementia typically have problems with:
- Reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving
- Visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision
Symptoms that may point to dementia include:
- Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
- Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
- Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
- Forgetting old memories
- Not being able to complete tasks independently
Overactive Bladder Drugs and Dementia Risk: SUFU White Paper
In November 2022, the Society for Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine, and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU) convened a committee of experts to gain a better understanding of the cognitive risks posed by anticholinergic medications like Ditropan. The committee found that extended use of oxybutynin-containing drugs had indeed been linked to an increased risk of new-onset dementia.
“The current body of literature supports a likely small but significant increased risk of dementia with chronic exposure to OAB anticholinergic medications,” the authors concluded. “Potential harms should be balanced against potential quality of life improvement with treatment.”
The white paper was published in the journal Neurology and Urodynamics [1.].
Another study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) [2.] in April 2018 examined brain samples of patients with no history of dementia who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, who were also taking OAB drugs like Ditropan for bladder problems.
The researchers found plaques indicating Alzheimer’s dementia in significantly higher quantities in patients who took anticholinergic medications for more than 2 years, compared to a control group who did not take the drugs.
Other studies have revealed that patients taking OAB medications like Ditropan had lower recall memory scores and executive function scores compared to those not taking the drugs.
What is Overactive Bladder Disorder?
OAB is a combination of symptoms that may cause you to urinate more frequently, have uncontrollable urges to urinate, and experience incontinence, according to the Cleveland Clinic [4.]. Overactive bladder affects up to 33 million adults in the U.S., including as many as 30% of men and 40% of women. However, this number may be significantly higher because many people may feel embarrassed to get help.
Advanced Age and Ditropan Risks
Advancing age may affect the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which may be a problem for older adults since most patients who are prescribed Ditropan are 61-80 years old. Additionally, more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are known to increase anticholinergic effects, which increases the risk of dementia for patients using Ditropan. The cumulative effect of taking these medications can significantly increase the risk of dementia in older patients.
Other Ditropan Side Effects
In addition to increasing the risk of dementia, Ditropan may cause the following common side effects in some users:
- Acid or sour stomach
- Decreased sweating
- Difficulty having a bowel movement
- Dryness of the eyes, mouth, nose, or throat
- Runny nose
- Stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
Is There a Dementia Warning on the Ditropan Label?
The labeling of Ditropan and Ditropan XL [5.] indicates that the medications should be used with caution in patients with pre-existing dementia due to the risk of aggravation of symptoms.
Do I Qualify to Participate in a Ditropan Lawsuit?
The manufacturer of Ditropan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, is currently facing dozens of lawsuits for dementia caused by the use of Ditropan. People and loved ones of those who took Ditropan and were subsequently diagnosed with dementia may be eligible for compensation.
Get a Free Ditropan Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Ditropan lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with dementia after taking Ditropan, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case review. You may be entitled to compensation and our dangerous drugs lawyers can help with a free case evaluation.