The study found that women with overactive bladder who received antimuscarinics were 38 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depressive disorder within the next 3 years than those who did not receive antimuscarinics.
‘Antimuscarinic drugs reduce involuntary detrusor contractions and increase bladder capacity.’
Although antimuscarinic drugs are a type of anticholinergic agent their antagonist action is specific to the muscarinic receptors. Anticholinergic or cholinergic-blocking drugs also incorporate anticholinesterase drugs and drugs used to treat motion sickness, cardiac arrhythmias, parkinsonism, chronic asthma and pupil dilatation agents. They may also be used as antidotes to cholinergic agents (such as atropine for reversing the effects of nerve gas) (Spencer et al, 1993).
Anticholinergic drugs may be classified into three groups:
- Those used for smooth muscle relaxation, antispasmodics and antisecretory properties
- Those used for their effects on the central nervous system and treatment of parkinsonism
- Those used in ophthalmology
Conventional antimuscarinics act unselectively on receptors in heart, smooth muscle and exocrine glands.
Although antimuscarinics can significantly depress bladder contractions and improve symptoms by blocking muscarinic receptors, studies have found that several unwanted side effects frequently occur when patients with overactive bladder receive the drugs.
"This population-based retrospective cohort study found that use of antimuscarinics was associated with subsequent depressive disorder in women with overactive bladder," said senior author Li-Ting Kao.