The People's Perspective on Medicine

Drug for Overactive Bladder Linked to Dry Eyes

Taking Myrbetriq for overactive bladder seems to have caused a long-lasting complication of dry eyes. What should we know about drugs before using them?

Patients often feel privileged to get a prescription for a brand new drug, especially if the doctor is enthusiastic about its promise. Too often, though, new drugs have downsides that are not yet well recognized. In general, we learn more about a medication’s side effects as people accumulate experience with it.

That appears to be what happened with this reader. Although the reaction this person reports can be found in the prescribing information, it is not prominent, and the doctors don’t appear to have recognized it promptly. That is why it’s probably better not to take a new drug unless there is very compelling evidence that it is superior to the older, better-known alternatives.

Q. I have overactive bladder. My doctor prescribed a new drug called Myrbetriq (mirabegron).

Instead of being an anticholinergic drug like most other bladder medicines, it works through beta receptors. It is not a beta-blocker, though.

Suffering from Dry Eyes:

It worked well for about a year, when I realized I had terribly dry eyes. I think it slowly damaged the lacrimal glands that produce tears.

It took me a long time to put two and two together. During that time I saw eight eye doctors and an endocrinologist. None of them had any answers.

I stopped taking Myrbetriq on September 18, 2014, and I am still waiting for my lacrimal glands to rejuvenate. I have advised the FDA and the Astellas Pharma drug company about this reaction of dry eyes, but got no response from them. We need to watch out for the side effects of all drugs!

Overactive Bladder Drugs:

A. Anticholinergic drugs for overactive bladder such as tolterodine (Detrol) or oxybutynin (Ditropan XL) are known to cause dry eyes. Your doctor might not have expected Myrbetriq to have this effect because it has a different mode of action.

Dry Eyes Have Been Reported with Myrbetriq:

Dry eyes are not a common side effect of Myrbetriq, but some people in one study dropped out because of dry eyes.

Myrbetriq has also been linked to a higher risk of glaucoma, so it may make sense for ophthalmologists to familiarize themselves with its potential side effects. The doctors prescribing this drug for overactive bladder should also be able to recognize adverse effects-and should report them to FDA’s MedWatch if they are not recognized. Unfortunately, we do not have enough information to tell you whether your tear glands will heal with time or not.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I started taking this drug about a year ago I am now going through various tests for chronic dry eyes. This morning I decided to check the effects that could be caused by Mirabegron for the bladder and find your article and various comments which really concerns me and how it may have damaged the tear ducts.

I am wondering if mirabegron causes dry skin and rosacea. I have never had either until starting this medication about 6 months ago.

I did not connect the two……however approx. 3 weeks after being on Myrbetriq. I was having so many problems with dry eyes…last night they were so sore, itchy, burning. I googled Myrbetriq/Dry eyes…it brought me too this site. Maybe just a coincidence….my optometrist and ophthalmologist told me it was rosacea . Thank you all for sharing!

I have learned that taking a couple of capsules a day of flax seed oil gets rid of dry eyes. My optometrist confirmed this as a treatment that works. He takes the flax seed directly. However, it takes more of it to work. The oil is good for you, inexpensive. If I don’t use it for a couple of days my uncomfortable eyes remind me to renew my flax seed oil routine.

Sea buckthorn oil offers a variety of medicinal purposes … is a source of herbal medicines, modern vitamins and nutrients well recognized around the world. It is used as active ingredient in anti-aging and medicinal skin care products, dietary supplements and health foods with nourishing revitalizing, and restorative action. One of the main Sea Buckthron products – Sea Buckthorn oil is traditionally utilized to promote the healing of skin injuries, such as burns, sores, eczema and helps improve conditions of mucous membranes, including ulcers, lesions, erosions. Due to the high content of nutrients essential for the metabolism of skin cells, Sea Buckthorn oil is applied to combats wrinkles, dryness and other symptoms of malnourished or prematurely aging skin. It is also taken to improve the conditions of the mucous membranes of gastro-intestinal tract and as a natural dietary supplement.

Overall a good remedy for many ailments. I’ve used it, and it will always be in my cabinet.

I’ve begun using Myrbetriq 50mg since um… June 23,2015 I’d been precribed the 2 popular advertised OAD RX’s & another RX but the terrible dry mouth was just too uncomfortable for me to accept. Recently I required 4 extractions for what were healthy teeth before taking the OAD’s RX’s, I’m so heartbroken over losing my teeth to the extreme dry mouth caused from the OAD’s asking with Brain fog & dry eyes.
The Myrbetriq hasn’t caused dry mouth in the months I’ve taken it thus far. I do seem to experience some dry eyes along with slight blurred vision . With my OAD though which may be affected also with my adult onset muscular dystrophy ,I must pick the lesser of the evils, Myrbetriq does help me with the urgency/ frequency,I still require adult diapers but life is happier since I’m able to get out of the house instead of constantly getting on & off of the toilet consistently literally not making it in time. Myrbetriq is expensive, @ $310.per 30 tablets or more depending on which store RX is filled. It’s a bummer that serious eye problems are possible from taking this RX asking with high BP . I’m grateful that I’ll probably be able to keep the remainder of my teeth I currently have though. Thank you. Susie Q

I have lost track of the various drugs I have tried for bladder control over the past 15 years. Some have had the side effect of dry eyes. Worse: for me, every single one has also caused a ‘clouding’ of the brain, mental sluggishness and sleepiness, sometimes within a week or two, sometimes by 6 or 7 weeks. I end up preferring the discomfort of wearing heavy pads and the humiliation of occasional wet pants to reduced energy and the decreased ability to focus, reason and respond. Blessings on the person who comes up with a solution for this.

Myrbetriq caused enuresis.( bedwetting)

I have bed wetting too on this drug.

Thank you for that report. It is not in the prescribing information.

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