Q. I took oxybutynin for urinary incontinence several years ago. The mental fuzziness was awful. A friend also taking this drug had similar symptoms but attributed them to aging. I wish there were a safer treatment for incontinence.
A. Drugs for overactive bladder symptoms such as oxybutynin or tolterodine are classified as anticholinergic medicines. That means they affect the brain chemical acetylcholine. Blocking this neurochemical can lead to symptoms such as confusion, dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, blurred vision or even hallucinations.
One reader expressed her opinion: “I would certainly rather wet my pants every single day than to have mental fuzziness and brain fog.” A new over-the-counter patch containing oxybutynin (Oxytrol) may be somewhat less likely to cause such symptoms.
To learn more about medications that block acetylcholine and cause confusion, you may wish to consult our Guide to Drugs and Older People. Older individuals are frequently more susceptible to such side effects as well as more likely to experience symptoms of incontinence.