Merck Consumer Care has released Oxytrol for Women, which it describes as the first over-the-counter treatment for overactive bladder in women.

Merck Consumer Care, Oxytrol for Women, overactive bladder in women, over-the-counter treatment, OAB, urinary incontinence, James Mackey, OAB product, Eman Elkadry, Harvard Medical School

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Merck rolls out OTC patch for women with overactive bladder

September 25th, 2013

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Merck Consumer Care has released Oxytrol for Women, which it describes as the first over-the-counter treatment for overactive bladder in women.

Oxytrol for Women offers women with overactive bladder an OTC option to help control the condition, Merck noted.

Merck said Wednesday that the product — a thin, flexible patch — is now available in the feminine care aisle at pharmacies and other retailers nationwide.

Oxytrol for Women is applied discreetly to the abdomen, hip or buttock once every four days for the relief of overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms such as urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency. The patch can be worn during everyday activities, including showering or exercising.

A four-count box of the patches provides a 16-day supply, with one patch providing treatment for four days and four nights.

More than 20 million women suffer from overactive bladder, Merck reported.

"Merck is proud to bring a first-in-class, over-the-counter OAB product for women to shelves nationwide," stated James Mackey, senior vice president and U.S. region head for Merck Consumer Care. "Leveraging our prescription-to-OTC switch experience to deliver greater access and value is another example of how Merck is committed to enhancing the quality of life for women."

Although overactive bladder is a treatable medical condition, over 80% of women with the condition don't seek treatment, according to Merck. Some women first experience overactive bladder as early as their 30s, but most develop the condition between 45 and 64, with prevalence of symptoms increasing as women age.

Merck noted that women can now get more control over their overactive bladder symptoms via the OTC option that Oxytrol for Women brings as well as with a lifestyle modification plan. By applying one patch every four days as directed, women can have symptom relief within two weeks when combined with daily lifestyle changes, such as following a daily bathroom schedule, managing fluid intake and strengthening bladder muscles. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help, as excess weight can increase the pressure on the bladder and make the condition worse.

"It’s important for women to have access to a prescription-strength OTC option like Oxytrol for Women because it offers them a convenient and cost-effective way to help manage their condition," explained Eman Elkadry, M.D., clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Urogynecology Associates at Mount Auburn Hospital and a spokesperson for the makers of Oxytrol for Women. "Women who suffer from OAB wait on average more than three years before seeking care. That's why I’ve been an advocate for giving women an OTC choice so they can treat their symptoms and better manage their health."

Thirty-seven percent of women with overactive bladder reported that the condition affects their relationship with their partner, and around half said they are worried about having a urinary accident in public (55%) or in the car (48%), Merck reported. In addition, recent data demonstrate the overall economic impact is estimated at $35 billion annually, both direct and indirect costs such as doctor visits, prescription medications and coping strategies such as using pantiliners and pads.