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Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Antidepressants for Urinary Incontinence
This medicine is usually taken as pills or liquid
Duloxetine is an antidepressant called a
"selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor." It changes how the
brain uses certain brain chemicals. How it helps with bladder control is not
Imipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant, but it has
anticholinergic side effects. This means that it relaxes the smooth muscle of
the bladder. It also causes the muscles at the bladder neck to contract.
Duloxetine may be prescribed for
Imipramine may be
Duloxetine rarely cures stress incontinence. But it can reduce the number of times you leak urine. People taking duloxetine also felt it improved their quality of life.footnote 1 But duloxetine can cause side effects. The number of women who have fewer symptoms with duloxetine is about the same as the number of women who stop taking it because of side effects.footnote 2
not a well-studied incontinence treatment. It is not known as a highly
effective treatment for urinary incontinence. But it may be worth trying if
other medicines don't work or if they cause side effects.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not
available in all systems.)
Imipramine can make drowsiness worse when it is combined with alcohol or other medicines that make you sleepy. These include cold and allergy medicines. Check with your doctor before taking any other medicines with imipramine, including medicine you can get without a prescription. If you are feeling sleepy, don't drive or do anything else that could be dangerous to you or other people.
Imipramine may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. When you are taking this medicine:
Dry mouth is common when you take imipramine. To help with dry mouth, you can chew sugarless gum, suck on sugarless candy, or melt ice in your mouth. If you continue to have problems with dry mouth after a couple weeks, call your doctor. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Mariappan P, et al. (2005). Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) for stress urinary incontinence in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
Shamliyan T, et al. (2012) Nonsurgical treatments
for urinary incontinence in adult women: Diagnosis and
comparative effectiveness. Comparative Effectiveness
Review No. 36 (AHRQ Publication No.
11-EHC074-EF). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productid=1021.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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