How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Oxybutynin belongs to the family of medications called anticholinergics. It is also an antispasmodic. Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms associated with an overactive bladder, such as urinary urgency (a need to urinate right away), urinary frequency (needing to urinate more often than usual), leakage, or urge incontinence (leaking or wetting caused by an unstoppable urge to urinate).

This medication works by relaxing the muscles in the bladder. When the bladder relaxes, it can hold more urine to allow for longer periods of time between having to urinate. It helps to reduce bladder spasms, the urge to pass urine, and the frequency of urination.

This medication is available under multiple brand names and in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under "What form(s) does this medication come in?"

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Oxybutynin gel is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

The usual adult dose of oxybutynin gel is one full packet of oxybutynin gel (100 mg of oxybutynin) applied once daily. Apply the medication immediately after the packet is opened.

Apply the medication to a clean, dry area of skin on your stomach (avoid the area around the belly-button), upper arms or shoulders, or thighs. Rotate through different application sites. Avoid applying the medication to the same place on the skin on consecutive days. Do not apply to cut or open skin. Gently rub the medication into your skin until it dries. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water after applying the gel. You can put on clothing once the medication has dried. Avoid bathing, swimming, exercising or immersing the application site in water for one hour after application.

This medication is a gel which contains alcohol, making it flammable. Avoid smoking, or exposure to heat or flames until the gel has dried.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture and keep it out of reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use oxybutynin gel if you:

  • are allergic to oxybutynin or any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have urinary retention (problems emptying your bladder) or are at risk for it
  • have gastric retention (stomach obstruction or problems affecting the passage and digestion of food) or are at risk for it
  • have myasthenia gravis or are at risk for it
  • have severe stomach problems
  • have uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma (an eye condition) or are at risk for it

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • constipation
  • decreased sweating
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • rash
  • skin dryness, itchiness, or redness

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abnormal vision
  • difficulty urinating
  • fast, uneven, or pounding heartbeat
  • severe application-site reaction (blisters, numbness, redness, dryness, and/or pain)
  • severe constipation

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (swelling of face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergic reaction: A severe allergic reaction called angioedema (swelling of the face, hands, throat, and tongue) has been reported in people taking the oral form of oxybutynin (oxybutynin pills). If you experience any of these symptoms while using oxybutynin gel, seek immediate medical attention.

Bladder obstruction: If you have bladder obstruction, you should discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. You may be at risk of urinary retention (problems emptying your bladder). People with urinary retention should not use oxybutynin gel.

Gastrointestinal disorders: If you have constipation, difficulty emptying bowels, obstructive gastrointestinal disorder, ulcerative colitis, or gastroesophageal reflux, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. You may be at risk of gastric retention (stomach obstruction or problems affecting the passage and digestion of food). People with gastric retention should not use oxybutynin gel.

Glaucoma: If you have controlled narrow-angle glaucoma, discuss the benefits and risks of this medication with your doctor. Oxybutynin may worsen this condition.

Heat: Oxybutynin gel may decrease sweating. Take care to stay cool (stay indoors, use air conditioning) to help prevent overheating in warm or hot temperatures.

Liver and kidney function: If you have reduced kidney or liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Skin conditions: You should avoid applying the medication on areas with eczema, seborrhea, or psoriasis. If you have any of these conditions, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if oxybutynin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 18 years old.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between oxybutynin gel and any of the following:

  • aclidinium
  • alcohol
  • antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, chlorpheniramine, dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine)
  • antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, quetiapine, risperidone)
  • atropine
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • belladonna
  • benztropine
  • botulinum toxin
  • buprenorphine
  • cannabis
  • clidinium
  • cobicistat
  • cyclobenzaprine
  • darifenacin
  • disopyramide
  • donepezil
  • flavoxate
  • galantamine
  • glycopyrrolate
  • homatropine
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., darunavir, indinavir, lopinavir, saquinavir, tipranavir)
  • ipratropium
  • macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
  • metoclopramide
  • mirabegron
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (e.g.,  moclobemide, selegiline)
  • narcotic medications (e.g., morphine, codeine)
  • nefazodone
  • orphenadrine
  • potassium chloride
  • quinidine
  • rivastigmine
  • scopolamine
  • solifenacin
  • thiazide diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide)
  • tiotropium
  • tolterodine
  • topiramate
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine, nortriptyline)
  • trospium
  • umeclidinium

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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