Detrol (Tolterodine)

SIMILAR DRUGS: Levsin SL, Levsinex TC, Urispas, Bentyl, Cystospaz, Probanthine, Banthine, Urised, Hyoscyamine, Ditropan

Why are these drugs prescribed?
Anticholinergic bladder muscle relaxants are a class of medications that are used in urology principally to relieve bladder symptoms, especially urgency (the urgent need to urinate) and/or frequent urination, getting up at night to urinate, and sometimes bladder pain or spasms. These drugs have other uses as well.

How do I take the medication?
The directions will be on the prescription bottle or container. You should follow the directions as written. Many times with the use of these drugs, we will have to use higher or lower doses depending upon your tolerance to the medication and the symptom relief you receive from the medication. If we need to change the dose we will discuss this with you for your special situation. Normally, Detrol is taken as 2 mg. dose, twice a day. Patients who are also taking macrolide antibiotics (Zithromax, Biaxin) or oral antifungal agents (Diflucan, Sporanox) should take a reduced dose of Detrol (1 mg. twice a day). Patients with chronic cirrhosis should also take a reduced dose of Detrol (1 mg. twice a day).

What should I do if I forgot to take a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. Do not take more than one dose at a time.

What are the side effects of using this medication?
All these drugs have somewhat similar side effects -- a drying effect of the mouth and skin. One of the advantages of Detrol is that it has fewer side effects, such as dry mouth, than other smooth muscle relaxants. Some people will experience a little blurred vision. All these side effects are related to the dosage of the drug and will usually subside with lowering of the dosage or with discontinuance of the medication. The side effects usually take a day or two to go away when you stop taking the medication. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Dry mouth
    Chew sugarless gum; suck sugarless hard candies.
  • Increased sensitivity of eyes to light
    Wear sunglasses.
  • Dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping, weakness, headaches, loss of sense of taste, nausea, vomiting, bloating, confusion (especially in the elderly)
    Contact us if these effects are severe or persistent.
  • Fast heartbeats, palpitations, blurred vision, eye pain, difficulty urinating, constipation, skin rash, itching
    Contact us.
In most cases, we prescribe these drugs to reduce frequency of urination. It is possible we could relax the bladder enough so that you will not be able to urinate at all. If reducing the dosage or frequency of the medication does not help, please call.

What are the contraindications to taking this medication?
People with acute narrow angle glaucoma should not take anticholinergic medication. Patients who have a history of gastric retention (total stomach shut-down) and urinary retention should not take Detrol.