Research Article| Volume 24, ISSUE 3, P397-408, March 2002

Treatment patterns and associated symptom improvement during six months of care for overactive bladder: A prospective, observational study

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      Background: Several pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions are available for the treatment of symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB). The relationship between type of initial intervention and subsequent symptom improvement and resource utilization has not been explored in detail.
      Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess (1) the proportion of patients continuing with their initially prescribed treatment for OAB 3 and 6 months after the initial evaluation and (2) the relationship between actual treatment patterns, symptom improvement, and number of physician office visits.
      Methods: A total of 31 physicians enrolled patients with OAB for this 6-month prospective, observational study. Baseline data on OAB symptom severity and OAB management strategies were obtained and initial treatment(s) were prescribed by physicians during a routine office visit. Follow-up data on symptom changes, treatment changes, number of physician office visits, and the frequency of absorbent pad use were collected via telephone interviews with patients 3 and 6 months after the initial visit. Stepwise logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between patient characteristics, prescription of medication, and symptom improvement.
      Results: A total of 213 patients were enrolled; 122 (57.3%) and 100 (46.9%) patients provided follow-up data at the 3-month and 6-month assessments, respectively. The mean age was 61.2 years; 85.2% of patients were female, and 77.7% were white. OAB symptom improvement was significantly related to being prescribed medication (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95% CI, 1.8–9.9) and the mean number of daily leakage incidents at baseline (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.2–8.4). Although patients who were prescribed drugs at baseline tended to have fewer physician office visits and were less likely to be prescribed nondrug interventions than patients who were not treated initially with drugs, these differences were not statistically significant.
      Conclusions: Pharmacologic treatment for symptoms of OAB appears to be associated with greater symptom improvement than nonpharmacologic treatment. Larger studies of experimental design are needed to determine whether patients treated with medication use fewer nondrug interventions and require fewer physician office visits than patients treated without medication.


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