Vesicare vs Detrol

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For patients dealing with overactive bladder (OAB), certain medications that target the nerve signals related to bladder control can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Vesicare and Detrol are two such drugs often prescribed for these conditions. They each impact different aspects of urinary function but both aim to reduce frequent urination, urgency, and incontinence episodes associated with OAB. Vesicare, also known as solifenacin, works by relaxing the muscles in the bladder to prevent urgent, frequent or uncontrolled urination. On the other hand, Detrol or tolterodine is classified as an antimuscarinic drug that functions primarily by blocking a specific neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) in the body to prevent bladder contraction.

What is Vesicare?

Solifenacin (the generic name for Vesicare) is a type of anticholinergic medication that was introduced as a significant improvement over the first generation of drugs used to treat overactive bladder, such as Tolterodine (Detrol). Solifenacin was approved by the FDA in 2004. It works by binding to muscarinic receptors in the bladder, effectively blocking signals that cause muscle contractions and thus reducing urinary frequency and urgency. This drug is prescribed for individuals who experience symptoms of an overactive bladder including frequent urination, urgency, and incontinence. Vesicare has a selective influence on M3 receptors which are primarily found in the detrusor muscle of the bladder with very little effect on other types of muscarinic receptors located elsewhere in the body. As a result, it tends to have fewer side effects than older medications like Detrol which have broader effects across multiple receptor types.

What conditions is Vesicare approved to treat?

Vesicare is approved for the treatment of certain bladder and urinary conditions:

  • Overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency
  • Neurological diseases causing overactive bladder such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury (off-label use)

Detrol also treats similar conditions:

  • Overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and frequency.

How does Vesicare help with these illnesses?

Vesicare helps to manage overactive bladder symptoms by increasing the amount of acetylcholine available in the synapses of the muscles lining the bladder. It does this by blocking it from being reabsorbed by muscarinic receptors, so that levels can be maintained lower for longer periods of time. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that acts as a messenger throughout the body and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation amongst other things. Overactivity or hypersensitivity of these muscles results in frequent urge to urinate or involuntary leakage (incontinence). Therefore, by decreasing acetylcholine action through its antagonistic effect on muscarinic receptors, Vesicare can limit these negative effects and help patients manage their overactive bladder symptoms more effectively.

What is Detrol?

Detrol, known generically as tolterodine, is a medication used to treat symptoms of an overactive bladder. It works by acting as an antagonist at muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the body, which reduces the spasms of the bladder muscles that can cause frequent urination and urgency. Detrol was first approved by the FDA in 1998. Unlike Vesicare (solifenacin), another drug for overactive bladder treatment which acts on muscarinic receptors but has additional selectivity for certain receptor subtypes, Detrol does not show this subtype selectivity. This difference means that its side-effect profile may vary from that of Vesicare; while both drugs carry risks such as dry mouth or constipation due to their mechanism of action, some patients might respond better or experience fewer side effects with one drug compared to another. In particular, Detrol is less likely than Vesicare to cause blurred vision and urinary retention.

What conditions is Detrol approved to treat?

Detrol is a medication that's approved by the FDA for managing symptoms of an overactive bladder, including:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency and inability to control urination (urge incontinence)
  • Nocturia, which refers to waking up multiple times at night to urinate

How does Detrol help with these illnesses?

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in many functions throughout the body, including muscle contractions and heart rate. It's also heavily involved in bladder control. Detrol works by blocking the action of acetylcholine on specific receptors (muscarinic receptors) located in the bladder, thereby reducing sudden involuntary contractions of the bladder muscles. These contractions can lead to symptoms like frequent urination, urgency and leakage - common signs of overactive bladder syndrome. Its action primarily on these muscarinic receptors sets it apart from drugs like Vesicare which has a broader activity across multiple types of muscarinic receptors potentially leading to more side effects such as dry mouth or constipation. Hence, Detrol can be prescribed when patients do not respond well to other medications for overactive bladder or may be chosen for its fewer side effects.

How effective are both Vesicare and Detrol?

Both solifenacin (Vesicare) and tolterodine (Detrol) are widely used in the treatment of overactive bladder, with both drugs approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. They act on similar receptors but have different pharmacological profiles which can result in differential prescribing patterns. The effectiveness of Vesicare and Detrol was directly compared in several clinical trials; these studies showed that both drugs were equally effective at reducing symptoms such as urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence episodes.

A 2004 review demonstrated that solifenacin has a good safety profile, comparable to many other antimuscarinic drugs used for overactive bladder treatment. It is well-tolerated even among elderly populations who may be more susceptible to side effects like dry mouth or constipation. Furthermore, it is typically prescribed once daily due to its longer duration of action which enhances patient compliance.

On the other hand, a 2016 meta-analysis suggested that while tolterodine exhibits efficacy superior to placebo in treating overactive bladder symptoms, its side-effect profile might lead some patients to discontinue therapy prematurely. Tolterodine comes with an extended-release formulation that allows for once-daily dosing too; however it's often considered after trying first-line treatments mainly because it carries potential risks including dry mouth and blurred vision if not properly managed or monitored closely by healthcare providers. Nonetheless given their differing pharmacology profiles either drug could prove optimal based on individual patient needs and tolerability.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Vesicare typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Vesicare typically start at 5 mg/day, but if needed, this can be increased to a maximum of 10 mg/day. The increased dosage may help with managing symptoms in people suffering from overactive bladder. For Detrol, the standard starting dose is 2 mg twice daily which can be adjusted based on individual response and tolerance to medication up to a maximum of 4mg per day. Both medications should only be used under a healthcare provider's supervision due to their potential side effects and interactions with other drugs.

At what dose is Detrol typically prescribed?

Detrol treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of 2 mg twice per day. If necessary and well-tolerated, the dose can be increased to 4 mg twice daily for maximum therapeutic effect. The medication doses should ideally be spaced around 12 hours apart to maintain consistent drug levels in the body. However, if there are bothersome side effects or if there is no improvement in symptoms after several weeks of therapy at this higher dose, please consult your healthcare provider as dosing adjustments may be needed.

What are the most common side effects for Vesicare?

Common side effects of Vesicare include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Dizziness and fatigue (general weakness)
  • Somnolence (sleepiness/drowsiness)

While Detrol's common side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain or upset
  • Joint Pain
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia

It should be noted that while both medications have similar side effect profiles due to their mechanism of action in treating urinary frequency and urgency, the severity and prevalence of these symptoms can vary between individuals. Always speak with your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have when starting a new medication.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Vesicare?

While Vesicare is generally well-tolerated, it may cause certain side effects in rare cases:

  • Allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Blurry vision or pain in your eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Signs of a serious nervous system reaction like fever, confusion and muscle stiffness.

If you are taking Vesicare and experience any of these symptoms alongside feeling like you might faint (loss of consciousness), stop using the medication immediately and seek medical attention.

Additionally, while not common with this class of drugs, if you observe signs that could point to low sodium levels - headache; confusion; slurred speech; severe weakness; vomiting; loss of coordination - consult your healthcare provider right away.

It's also important to note that should there be any indication towards serotonin syndrome – agitation; hallucinations; high fever; sweating excessively than normal body temperature range would allow for shivering more frequently than usual heart rate muscle stiffness twitching loss coordination nausea vomiting diarrhea – call emergency services without delay.

What are the most common side effects for Detrol?

Common side effects associated with Detrol include:

  • Dry mouth, dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Stomach upset, constipation
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Mild skin rash

Are there any potential serious side effects for Detrol?

Detrol, while generally well-tolerated, can occasionally lead to serious side effects which may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Little to no urination (signs of urinary retention)
  • Severe stomach pain and/or constipation
  • Blurred vision and dry eyes

If any of these symptoms occur after taking Detrol, it's crucial you immediately seek medical attention.

Contraindications for Vesicare and Detrol?

Both Vesicare and Detrol, like most other medications for bladder control, may cause urinary retention in some people. If you notice difficulty urinating or an inability to empty your bladder completely, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Vesicare nor Detrol can be taken if you are taking or have been taking certain types of medication such as anticholinergic drugs. It's crucial that you always inform your physician about which medications you're currently using; anticholinergics will require a period of time to clear from the system – usually around one week – to prevent dangerous interactions with both Vesicare and Detrol.

How much do Vesicare and Detrol cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Vesicare (10 mg) averages around $320, which works out to approximately $11/day.
  • The price of 60 capsules of Detrol LA (4 mg) is about $410, working out to roughly $7/day.

Thus, if you are prescribed the standard dosage for both medications (i.e., one tablet a day), then brand-name Detrol is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which drug is right for you.

As for generic versions, significant savings can be made:

  • Solifenacin succinate (generic Vesicare) costs between $0.80 and $2.50 per day depending on the pharmacy and any insurance coverage you may have.
  • Tolterodine tartrate ER (generic Detrol LA) ranges from about $1 to $3 per day under similar conditions.

Remember, always consult with your healthcare provider before making decisions about medication based primarily on cost.

Popularity of Vesicare and Detrol

Solifenacin, in generic form as well as under the brand name Vesicare, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 1.5 million people in the US in 2020. Solifenacin accounted for just over 14% of prescriptions for overactive bladder (OAB) medications in the US. However, it appears to be one of the most common "antimuscarinic" drugs used for OAB. The prescription rate of solifenacin has been generally increasing since its approval by FDA.

Tolterodine or Detrol was prescribed to approximately 1 million people in the USA during that same period. Tolterodine accounts for around 8% of antimuscarinic prescriptions, and around 6% overall OAB medication prescriptions. Its prevalence has remained relatively steady over recent years due to its effectiveness and tolerability profile.


Both Vesicare (solifenacin) and Detrol (tolterodine) have an established history of usage in the treatment of overactive bladder, a condition characterized by sudden urges to urinate and frequent urination. These medications work by blocking muscarinic receptors that control the contraction of muscles in the urinary bladder, thereby reducing urgency and frequency. While both drugs are effective for this purpose, they may be prescribed under different circumstances due to their unique pharmacokinetic properties.

Vesicare is usually taken once daily with reduced side effects compared to other medicines used for overactive bladder syndrome such as oxybutynin. It's considered a good choice when first-line treatments fail.

Detrol on the other hand can be taken twice daily or as an extended-release formula once per day. The decision between these two treatments will typically depend on individual patient factors such as cost considerations, potential interactions with other medications being taken concurrently, and personal tolerance for possible side effects.

Both Vesicare and Detrol are available in generic form offering significant savings especially those who must pay out-of-pocket expenses. Both drugs require some time before their full effect becomes noticeable; therefore patients need patience during initial stages of treatment.

The overall safety profile is similar between the two drugs; common adverse effects include dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision but serious concerns like memory problems or confusion are rare. As always it is recommended that patients report any new symptoms immediately to their healthcare provider.