Combined behavioral and drug therapy for urge incontinence in older women

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of combining behavioral treatment and drug treatment for urge incontinence in community-dwelling older women. DESIGN: Modified crossover design (extension of a randomized clinical trial). Eligible subjects were stratified according to type and severity of incontinence and randomized to behavioral treatment, drug treatment, or a control condition (placebo). Subjects not totally continent or not satisfied after 8 weeks of a single treatment were offered the opportunity to cross over into combined therapy. SETTING: A university- based outpatient geriatric medicine clinic. PARTICIPANTS: Subjects in the clinical trial were 197 ambulatory, nondemented, community-dwelling women (age 55 years or older) with persistent urge urinary incontinence. Thirty- five subjects participated in combined treatment. INTERVENTION: One group of subjects received four sessions (over 8 weeks) of biofeedback-assisted behavioral training followed by 8 weeks of behavioral training combined with drug therapy (oxybutynin chloride individually titrated from 2.5 mg to 15 mg daily). The second group received drug therapy first, followed by 8 weeks of drug therapy combined with behavioral training. MEASUREMENTS: Bladder diaries completed by subjects before and after each treatment phase were used to calculate change in the frequency of incontinent episodes. RESULTS: Eight subjects (12.7%) crossed from behavioral treatment alone to combined behavioral and drug therapy. Additional benefit was seen in improvement from a mean 57.5% reduction of incontinence with single therapy to a mean 88.5% reduction of incontinence with combined therapy (P = .034). Twenty-seven subjects (41.5%) crossed from drug therapy alone to combined drug and behavioral treatment. They also showed additional improvement, from a mean 72.7% reduction of incontinence with single therapy to a mean 84.3% reduction of incontinence with combined therapy (P = .001). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that combining drug and behavioral therapy in a stepped program can produce added benefit for patients with urge incontinence.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Burgio KL; Locher JL; Goode PS
  • Start Page

  • 370
  • End Page

  • 374
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 4