What Is Ditropan?
Ditropan is a brand name for oxybutynin, a medication used to treat bladder conditions. It’s manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Belgian company owned by Johnson & Johnson.
Who Is Janssen Pharmaceuticals?
Janssen Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1933 in Belgium, beginning with the rights to distribute Richter’s pharmaceutical products. The company later researched and developed its own medications. It was bought by Johnson & Johnson in 1961 but was kept separate from the rest of Johnson & Johnson, specializing in developing new drugs.
How Does Ditropan Work?
Ditropan works by relaxing the bladder muscles. This helps to reduce muscle spasms and to help control the frequency of urination, the urge to urinate, and spasms in the bladder.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Ditropan?
The common side effects of taking Ditropan may include:
- Dry mouth
More severe side effects may include:
- Severe stomach pain
- Reduced or no urination
- Painful urination
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
- Tunnel vision
- Seeing halos
- Feeling very thirsty
What Does Ditropan Treat?
Ditropan is a medication that was developed in order to treat bladder conditions like overactive bladder.
What Is Overactive Bladder?
Overactive bladder, which is also known as OAB, is a health condition that involves feeling a frequent need to urinate. People with an overactive bladder may find themselves waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to urinate. They may also lose control of their bladder unintentionally due to urgency incontinence. Many feel isolated or have difficulties at work or in their social lives because they’re embarrassed or OAB negatively affects their ability to perform normal daily activities.
What Are the Symptoms of Overactive Bladder?
If you have an overactive bladder, the symptoms may include:
- Urgency incontinence
- Frequent urination (8 or more times in 24 hours)
- Frequent nighttime urination (2 times or more)
- A sudden, difficult-to-control urge to urinate
If you’re finding that these symptoms are disrupting your normal life, then it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor about how to handle the symptoms.
What Causes Overactive Bladder?
An overactive bladder is caused by the bladder muscles contracting involuntarily. This results in a feeling an urgent need to urinate which may be painful, even if there’s very little urine in the bladder. In a normal bladder, these muscles would only contract when the bladder is full.
While the exact cause of an overactive bladder may be unknown, there are many possibilities behind the symptoms of the condition, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder stones
- Incontinence surgery
- Enlarged prostate
- Certain medications
- Difficulty walking
- Incomplete bladder emptying
Who Is Most at Risk for an Overactive Bladder?
The following factors may increase your risk of developing an overactive bladder:
- Older age
- Cognitive decline
What Complications Can Occur From an Overactive Bladder?
Treatment for overactive bladder can help to prevent future complications such as:
- Emotional distress
- Sleep disturbances
- Interrupted sleep cycles
- Sexuality issues
What Are Ditropan’s Links to Dementia?
Ditropan has been linked to an increased risk of developing dementia. A study was conducted over the course of 6 weeks with 12 subjects, all of whom were over the age of 69. The study found that 7 out of 15 cognitive measures decreased after taking Ditropan. The risk of developing dementia, the study found, was even higher when someone also had diabetes. Other studies have found no link between Ditropan and other overactive bladder medications and dementia, so the overall consensus is mixed, but oxybutynin, the generic version of Ditropan, was still found to be linked to headache, sleepiness, and dizziness more so than other overactive bladder medications.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is the word used to describe a set of symptoms that impact cognition and memory, as well as social abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of the possible causes of dementia but isn’t the only one. Memory loss on its own doesn’t necessarily indicate dementia, even though it is one of the symptoms. It’s typically only considered dementia when memory loss and cognitive decline have a significant negative impact on your daily life.
What Are the Symptoms of Dementia?
There are two ways dementia displays symptoms.
The disease may have both psychological and cognitive effects including:
- Psychological effects:
- Changes in personality
- Behaving inappropriately
- Cognitive effects:
- Difficulty with the following:
- Motor functions
- Complex tasks
- Visual abilities
- Spatial abilities
What Causes Dementia?
The most common causes of dementia may include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Huntington’s disease
- Lewy body dementia
- Mixed dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Vascular dementia
In these cases, dementia is not usually reversible and may be a permanent loss of memory and cognitive function occurs.
There are some instances in which dementia can be treatable such as those cases caused by a nutritional deficiency or an infection. Some medications can cause dementia-like symptoms but do not actually cause dementia. In these cases, stopping taking the medication may remove the symptoms.
What Are the Risk Factors of Dementia?
There are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing dementia, including:
- Family history
- Older age
- Down syndrome
- Drinking alcohol
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Head trauma
- Air pollution
- Sleep disruption
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Nutritional deficiencies
What Complications Can Result from Dementia?
Because dementia impacts cognition and memory, the condition can lead to other problems, such as:
- Challenges with personal safety
- Difficulty performing daily tasks
- Inability to care for oneself
- Poor nutrition
How Can Dementia Be Prevented?
In many cases, dementia may not be preventable. However, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk or delay the onset:
- Staying physically active
- Staying socially active
- Challenge your brain
- Qutting smoking
- Getting good sleep
- Proper nutrition
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Reduce cholesterol
- Treat health problems
- Lose weight
Is Ditropan Over-Prescribed?
Despite Ditropan’s links to dementia, the drug is taken by millions of Americans. About one quarter of all patients with an overactive bladder are reportedly prescribed Ditropan to treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Some doctors believe that Ditropan is appropriate for younger patients but carries too great a risk for those who are older. There are alternative medications for overactive bladder available, but many older patients are still prescribed Ditropan despite the risks because other medications may be more expensive or might not be covered by their insurance. Ditropan continues to be prescribed in part because many doctors may be unaware of the risks or neurological effect and in part because whether the alternatives truly are safer is still in question.
Researchers studying the risks of Ditropan had suggested that the drug itself still has its uses, particularly for treating younger patients, but did say that it’s essential for doctors to pay close attention to look for any possible cognitive effects, especially if a patient taking Ditropan is over the age of 65.
Why Are People Filing Ditropan Lawsuits?
Johnson & Johnson may be facing lawsuits for promoting Ditropan to treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder without taking into account the increased risk of dementia in older patients. Those who have suffered dementia or loved ones of those who developed dementia as a result of taking Ditropan, which can continue to increase the risk of dementia even after someone has stopped taking it, may have a case against J&J. If you or a loved one has new or worsening symptoms of dementia and you’ve taken Ditropan, speak with your doctor to officially determine that the Ditropan caused or exacerbated the dementia symptoms.
Should I Consider a Ditropan Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has taken Ditropan and developed dementia as a result, you may be eligible for compensation.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.