New Perspectives on Overactive Bladder: Quality of Life Impact, Medication Persistency, and Treatment Costs

Supplements and Featured Publications, New Perspectives on Overactive Bladder: Quality of Life Impact, Medication Persistency, and Treatmen, Volume 11, Issue 4 Suppl


American Journal of Managed Care

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a commonurinary dysfunction thatincludes urinary urgency, frequency,nocturia, and/or urge urinary incontinence.OAB is estimated to occur in 33million Americans or approximately 16.5%of the population.1,2 In the long-term caresetting, it is estimated that as many as half ofall residents suffer from incontinence,3,4 andit is considered to be a serious medical concernfor several reasons. First, OAB is associatedwith medical and quality of lifeconsequences that further compromise thehealth and well-being of both institutionalizedand community-dwelling patients.Specifically, incontinence has been associatedwith an increased risk of urinary tractinfections, pressure ulcers, falls, and fractures,5-7 which may severely compromisepatient function and overall health. Second,incontinence consumes medical resourcesand staff and provider time, driving up thecost of care.8 This supplement to featuresseveral articles on the medical, qualityof life, social, and economic impact of OAB.As described in articles by Ko et al, OABexacts a profound toll on quality of life;incontinence frequently results in social isolation,depression, and the inability to lead anormal, fulfilling life.9-11

In addition to substantial medical andquality of life sequelae of OAB, the economicimpact is great. The estimated total economiccost for urinary incontinence (UI)and OAB was $19.5 billion and $12.6 billion,respectively in 2000.12 For both conditions,70% was incurred in the community and 30%in institutions.12 When indirect costs, suchas lost wages and productivity, are included,the annual cost of incontinence increases tomore than $26 billion, with institutionalcare accounting for more than $8.4 billion(23%).13 For managed care, OAB is a significantdriver of health plan costs. A recentinsurance claims analysis shows annualspending for patients with OAB to be nearly5-fold greater than for patients without thecondition ($5018 vs $1767, respectively).14

Pharmacotherapy is effective for manypatients and usually is recommended inaddition to behavioral modification whenthat measure alone fails.15 Yet, despite evidencethat interventions can control bothincontinence and OAB, they remain underdiagnosedand undertreated. As describedby Jumadilova et al in this supplement,pharmacotherapy for UI may be underutilizedin the nursing home setting.16 Thismay be a result of physician uncertaintyregarding the appropriateness of pharmacotherapyacross a range of patients withvaried illnesses and functional abilities.Here, as well as in the community setting,healthcare providers and patients alikecontinue to believe the myth that urinaryproblems are simply a normal andinevitable part of aging, and some patientsare simply too embarrassed to talk to theirhealthcare providers about UI.4,10,17 Asreported by Shaya et al in this publication,patients who do seek treatment frequentlydo not adhere to prescribed treatment regimensfor a variety of reasons, includingthe uncomfortable side effects (mostnotably dry mouth) associated with manyOAB medical treatments.18,19 Another reasonfor low adherence to therapy is ineffectivepatient counseling by healthcareproviders, which can lead to unmet patientexpectations in the initial days and weeks oftherapy.

Achieving timely diagnosis and consistenttreatment requires a shared understandingamong patients, caregivers, and healthcareproviders that OAB and UI in adults can usuallybe improved.20 Roberts et al report thattolterodine is associated with significantly lessdry mouth than oxybutynin,21 which mayprompt patients to continue treatment overthe longer term. Clinical effectiveness, as wellas tolerability and cost of the therapy, willhave the greatest impact on patients'adherenceto long-term treatment. Persistence, asdescribed in the article by Perfetto et al, contributesto cost savings.22 Another article byVaradharajan et al suggest small economicadvantages of extended-release tolterodinecompared with extended-or immediate-releaseoxybutynin among people with OABwho have commercial insurance.23

Clinicians can play an important role ineducating patients about their health condition,treatment options, and disease management.Prospective studies that evaluatethe clinical and economic outcomes of OABtherapies can further help healthcare providersand patients to select the most appropriatetreatments.

World J Urol.

1. Stewart WF, Van Rooyen JB, Cundiff GW, et al.Prevalence and burden of overactive bladder in theUnited States. 2003;20:327-336.


Am Geriatr Soc.

2. Thom D. Variation in estimates of urinary incontinenceprevalence in the community: effects of differencein definition, population characteristics, and study type. 1998;46:473-480.



3. Wilson L, Brown JS, Shin GP, Luc KO, Subak LL.Annual direct cost of urinary incontinence. 2001;98:398-406.

Clin Geriatr Med.

4. Tannenbaum C, DuBeau CE. Urinary incontinence inthe nursing home: practical approach to evaluation andmanagement. 2004;20:437-452, vi.

J Am Med Dir Assoc.

5. Prochoda KP. Medical director's review of urinaryincontinence in long-term care. 2002;3(1 suppl):S11-S15.

J Am Geriatr Soc.

6. Brown JS, et al. Urinary incontinence: does itincrease risk for falls and fractures? Study of OsteoporoticFractures Research Group. 2000;48:721-725.

Am J Manag Care.

7. Wagner TH, Hu TW, Bentkover J, et al. Health-relatedconsequences of overactive bladder. 2002;8(19 suppl):S598-S607.


8. Shih YC, Hartzema AG, Tolleson-Rinehart S. Laborcosts associated with incontinence in long-term carefacilities. 2003;62:442-446.

Am J

Manag Care.

9. Ko Y, Lin SJ, Salmon JW, Bron M. The impact of urinaryIncontinence on quality of life of the elderly. 2005;11:S103-S111.

J Clin Nurs.

10. Shaw C. A review of the psychosocial predictors ofhelp-seeking behaviour and impact on quality of life inpeople with urinary incontinence. 2001;10:15-24.

Scand J Prim Health Care.

11. Hunskaar S, Sandvik H. One hundred and fifty menwith urinary incontinence. III. Psychosocial consequences.1993;11:193-196.


12. Hu TW, Wagner TH, Bentkover JD, Leblanc K, ZouSZ, Hunt T. Costs of urinary incontinence and overactivebladder in the United States: a comparative study.2004;63:461-465.


13. Wagner TH, Hu TW. Economic costs of urinaryincontinence in 1995. 1998;51:355-361.

Drug Benefit Trends.

14. Zhou SZ, Jensen G. Insurance claims costs for overactivebladder disorder. 2001;13:45-58.

Am J Manag Care.

15. Lemack GE. Overactive bladder: optimizing qualityof care. 2001;7(2 suppl):S46-S61.

Am J Manag


16. Jumadilova Z, Zyczynski T, Paul B, Narayanan S.Urinary incontinence in nursery home: resident characteristicsand prevalence of drug treatment. 2005;11:S112-S120.


Anthropol Q.

17. Mitteness LS, Barker JC. Stigmatizing a "normal"condition: urinary incontinence in late life. 1995;9:188-210.

Am J Manag Care.

18. Shaya FT, Blume S, Gu A, Zyczynski T, JumadilovaZ. Persistence with overactive bladder pharmacotherapyin a medicaid population. 2005;11:S121-S129.


19. O'Conor RM, Johannesson M, Hass SL, Kobelt-Nguyen G. Urge incontinence. Quality of life andpatients'valuation of symptom reduction. 1998;14:531-539.

Clinical Practice

Guideline Number 2: Urinary Incontinence in Adults:

Acute and Chronic Management.

20. Fantl J, Newman D, Colling J. Rockville, Md: Agencyfor Health Care Policy and Research; 1996.

Am J Manag Care.

21. Roberts R, Garely A, Bavendam T. Safety and tolerabilityof tolterodine for the treatment of overactive bladderin adults. 2005;11:S158-S162.

Am J Manag


22. Perfetto EM, Subedi P, Jumadilova Z. Treatment ofoveractive bladder: a model comparing extended-releaseformulations of tolterodine and oxybutynin. 2005;11:S150-S157.

Am J Manag


23. Varadharajan S, Jumadilova Z, Girase P, OllendorfDA. Economic impact of extended-release tolterodineversus extended-release oxybutynin among commerciallyinsured persons with overactive bladder. 2005;11:S140-S149.