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BOTOX® for Overactive Bladder

Departments & Specialties   >   Urologic Surgery   >   General Urologic Surgery Services   >   BOTOX® for Overactive Bladder

BOTOX® for Overactive Bladder

What is an overactive bladder?

Overactive Bladder is a condition where the bladder contracts uncontrollably, creating leakage, the strong sudden need to “go right away”, and going too often.

First, it’s important to realize that OAB is not a “weak” bladder. In fact, OAB occurs when nerves are affected.

  • These nerves send signals to your bladder at the wrong time, causing the muscle to squeeze without warning
  • This process causes your bladder to spasm uncontrollably, creating leakage, the strong sudden need to “go”, and going too often

If you have tried taking medications to manage your OAB and stopped because the side effects were intolerable or you still experience urgency, frequency or leakage BOTOX bladder injections might be right for you.

BOTOX® is a different treatment option that takes another approach to targeting the source of your OAB: the bladder muscle itself.

How does BOTOX® work?

BOTOX® works on the nerves and bladder muscle, blocking the signals that trigger OAB. In your body, certain chemicals travel from nerve cells to muscle cells to make your bladder contract so that you can urinate. With OAB, these muscles contract uncontrollably and you frequently feel like you have to empty your bladder.

BOTOX® treatment works by calming the nerves that trigger the Overactive Bladder muscle, helping to:

  • Reduce daily leakage episodes
  • Treat the strong need to urinate right away
  • Reduce the number of times that you need to empty your bladder daily

Here’s what you can expect before your BOTOX® treatment:

  • You should not receive BOTOX® if you have a urinary tract infection. You will be given a preventative antibiotic to take prior to your BOTOX® appointment to help prevent infection
  • You will be given a numbing agent, maybe in combination with a sedative, to keep you relaxed and comfortable during the procedure
  • Once your bladder is numb, a small tube called a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra (the natural opening where the urine comes out)
  • BOTOX® goes through the cystoscope and is administered with a small needle into multiple areas of your bladder muscle
  • The treatment itself only takes approximately 30 minutes. Then you will be observed for about 30 minutes, and your doctor will make sure you have emptied your bladder before you leave the office

One BOTOX® treatment can last up to 6 months before the effects wear off. As your symptoms return, talk to your doctor about repeating the treatment to help control your symptoms, but no sooner than 12 weeks from prior treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I expect to see results?

You won’t see results right away. In clinical trials, patients taking BOTOX® experienced fewer daily leakage episodes in as little as 2 weeks.

How long does BOTOX® last?

One BOTOX® treatment provides up to 6 months of improvement of OAB symptoms. As your symptoms return, you can talk to your doctor about repeating the procedure to help control your symptoms, but no sooner than 12 weeks from prior treatment.

What about side effects?

In treating OAB, the most common side effects with BOTOX treatment are urinary tract infection (UTI), dysuria which means painful or difficult urination, and retention which is a temporary inability to fully empty your bladder.

Can BOTOX® really improve your Overactive Bladder (OAB) symptoms?

At week 12, many of these patients saw their daily leakage episodes reduced by half or more following BOTOX® treatment.

  • The majority of patients receiving BOTOX® had at least 50% reduction of daily leakage episodes.
  • Most of these patients reduced their leakage episodes by 75%.
  • APPROXIMATELY 1 IN 4 of them reported they were experiencing no leakage episodes.
  • In clinical trials, one BOTOX® treatment provided symptom improvement for up to 6 months. Your doctor will work with you to develop a re-treatment plan.
I’m concerned about getting a urinary tract infection.

You will be given an antibiotic before the treatment to help prevent this and, on the day of the treatment, you will go home with a prescription.

What about the risk of retention?

In clinical trials, 6% of 552 patients treated with BOTOX® were temporarily unable to fully empty their bladders on their own after treatment. The temporary inability to fully empty the bladder can be self-managed with a small, portable bladder draining tool, called a self-catheter. It is important to realize that if this should occur, it is temporary – until the bladder can be emptied on its own. 94% of patients treated with BOTOX® did not have this adverse reaction after treatment.

What is a disposable self-catheter?

The catheter is a portable bladder draining tool about the size of a thin, short straw, like a coffee stirrer. It’s smooth and may be lubricated. You insert the catheter when you need to drain urine, and remove it after use.

What if I’m not happy with the results?

If you are not happy with the results after 12 weeks, talk to your doctor. The effects of BOTOX® treatment are not permanent.

Is BOTOX® covered by my insurance?

Most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover the cost of BOTOX® treatments.* For commercially insured patients who are eligible, Allergan offers a savings program to help offset remaining out-of-pocket costs. With this program, most commercially insured patients are able to have their first BOTOX® treatment for no out-of-pocket cost.  Learn more and find out if you’re eligible for savings.

Patient Resources
BOTOX Medication Guide 
Patient Testimonials
Patient Education Brochure 


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Pinehurst Surgical Clinic is a multi-specialty clinic comprised of ten specialty centers located in a state-of-the-art surgical facility in Pinehurst, NC. Our certified Urologists offer a variety of treatments and surgical procedures for urinary tract and bladder problems at our Pinehurst and Sanford locations serving patients in Southern Pines, Fayetteville, Red Springs and all surrounding areas throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond.