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Medications and Continence

For Medical Professionals

Class Name

Examples (Generic names)

Alpha Blocking agents

Terazosin, doxazosin, tamulosin

Alpha Stimulating agents

Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – used in some cold remedies

Beta agonists

Salbutamol, terbutaline

Calcium Channel Blockers

Nifedipine, felodipine, amlodipine, diltiazem, verapamil


Furosemide, bumetanide, bendrofluazide,

Drugs with anticholinergic effects. Many different groups of medicines have this effect. This includes antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiparkinson’s disease agents, antihistamines, antispasmodics, and inhaled medications

Oxybutynin, solifenacin, tolterodine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, doxepin, imipramine, orphenadrine, benztropine, promethazine, hyoscine, risperidone, clozapine, olanzepine, quetiapine, ipratropium, tiotropium

Sedative agents including benzodiazepines and other sleeping pills

Temazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, clonazepam, zopiclone

Strong analgesics (painkillers)

Tramadol, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, nefopam

Medications can be very helpful in treating bladder control problems. However, in some people medications can affect bladder control and the ability to get to and use the toilet. This is more likely in older people who may be on several different types of medication. Usually for people with bladder control problems, medications are only part of a bigger picture. Sorting out a continence problem may well involve a lot more than just adjusting medications. 

Medication may be very important for other aspects of a person's health. The decision to alter medication by stopping or adjusting the number and type of drugs should be done after careful thought and discussion with who ever prescribed the medication, usually a doctor.

Medications are known by a number of different names. Firstly they may be known by the ‘class’ effect. For example antibiotics are medications which act against bacteria which cause infections. Secondly they may be known by their specific ‘generic’ name, for example a particular antibiotic used for urinary tract infections is Trimethoprim. Finally the drug may have a trade name, which is the particular brand a drug company manufactures, for example a particular brand of Trimethoprim is TMP, made by the drug making company, Pacific.

In the table the first column is the general class of drug and the second column has specific examples of the generic name. This list is not a complete list. Brands may change and many different medications may be found to contribute to or help with bladder control problems. Looking up drug information on the internet, for example the NZ Medsafe website: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz,, discussion with a pharmacist, reading the manufacturer's material, or discussion with a doctor or health professional may all be needed to decide what is best for a particular person.


Other titles available include:

§ Good Bladder Habits for everyone

§ Bladder Control Problems in Women

§ Urinary Symptoms in Men

§ Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Women

§ Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Men

§ Bladder Retraining

§ Healthy Bowel - Bowel Control Problems

§ Dementia & Urinary Incontinence

§ Older People & Continence Problems

§ 1 in 3 Women Who Have Ever had a Baby Wet Themselves

§ Bladder Retraining

§ Adults and Bedwetting

§ Information for Teachers – Children who wet and soil themselves

§ Faecal Incontinence (soiling)

§ Bedwetting in Children ( Nocturnal Enuresis)

§ Toilet Training for children with Autism,Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities

§ Enuresis – Daytime Wetting

§ Toilet Training

§ Caring For Someone With Incontinence

§ Continence and the Prostate – Prostate Surgery

For information pamphlets on bladder and bowel control problems - contact the

Continence NZ – 0800 650 659