Oxybutynin Side Effects, How it Works, Upsides & Downsides

Oxybutynin is an oral drug and belongs to a class of drugs referred to as antispasmodics. It is used to treat urinary bladder spasm and therefore, aids in curing symptoms of an overactive bladder. It is given to patients who struggle with urgent urination, leakage (incontinence) and sometimes, increased night-time urination.




The quintessential side effects of this drug include the inability to urinate, constipation, dry mouth, blurry vision, drowsiness, insomnia, and headache, less sweat than usual, fever, belching, acid or sour stomach and diarrhea. If these symptoms get severe, then a doctor must be contacted immediately.

Some rare side effects that may occur and require attention are not being able to empty your bladder, swelling, decreased flow of breast milk, difficulty swallowing, rising sensitivity of the eyes to light and nausea or vomiting. In such a case, it is essential that you go see your doctor soon.

You might have overdosed if you experience clumsiness, unsteadiness, convulsions, unusual excitement, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, abnormal breathing, fainting or fever. Do not delay a trip to the doctor at any cost if these symptoms appear.



To understand how this medication works, we must first take a look at how these undesirable contractions happen. The nerves in the bladder release an organic chemical known as acetylcholine. This chemical attaches itself to the receptors on the surface of the bladder muscle cells and therefore, causes contraction of the muscle. Due to the intake of oxybutynin, the release of this chemical is blocked – this process is an anticholinergic effect. Similarly, it also directly relaxes the detrusor muscles of the bladder to decrease the problems associated with urine.



The clinical efficacy of the drug is proven – it is successful in helping avoid incontinence episodes and reduces the frequency of urination. It is readily available in several forms such as a patch, gel, an extended-release tablet and a regular tablet (which is sold as a generic) – and the patch and gel can be bought without a proper prescription. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the patch and gel have considerably fewer side effects than the tablets.



If you have both uncontrolled narrow-angled glaucoma and urination problems, then this tablet is not for you. Similarly, people will develop ulcerative colitis, and other stomach problems are advised not to take this medication as well since oxybutynin can decelerate stomach-emptying. People with GERD may also suffer a backlash from it as side effects include throat irritability which will make the acid problem worse.


Recent investigations and studies have revealed more types of medications that can be used to treat overactive bladders. These new remedies carry less risk and a considerably smaller number of side effects.

Since oxybutynin is expected to make the patient drowsy, it is endorsed that people above the age of sixty-five do not take it. Drowsiness increases the risk of falling which may prove to be detrimental for older people.

It must also be noted that oxybutynin can interact with other drugs, namely, anti-depressants, anti-allergy pills, psychosis and schizophrenia drugs, antifungal drugs and dementia drugs. Interactions can be harmful or in some cases, will reduce the effect of the oxybutynin. It is urged that the patient discusses all these details with their doctor.