A number of medications are available that increase sphincter or pelvic muscle strength or relax the bladder, making it able to hold more urine. Medications are prescribed for all kinds of incontinence, but they are generally most helpful for urge incontinence.
A major 2003 study reported that these drugs produce small but significant improvements. However, the medications have not been rigorously compared with behavioral methods, such as bladder training and Kegel exercises, which are very effective for most cases of urge incontinence. Anticholinergics can have distressing side effects, notably dry mouth.
Extended-release versions of anticholinergics are proving to be especially effective. They improve continence and have fewer adverse effects than short-acting forms.