Pfizer Limited has launched Toviaz®(Black Triangle Drug) (fesoterodine fumarate), a new once daily treatment for the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB).

OAB is a condition which affects an estimated 4.9 million people in the UK(1) (more than twice the number of people with diabetes(2)) and has been shown to have a serious and detrimental effect on people's emotional, psychological and sexual wellbeing(3).

Fesoterodine is an antimuscarinic drug which works by relaxing the muscles found in the wall of the bladder, decreasing sudden uncontrollable bladder contractions and increasing bladder capacity.(4) In two 12 week long, international clinical trials, fesoterodine significantly improved the symptoms of OAB compared to placebo(5),(6) (at least three quarters of patients said their condition improved or greatly improved on the medicine compared with 53% on placebo)(5) and patients taking fesoterodine also showed significant and consistent improvement in health related quality of life (HRQL) compared to placebo(7). This is important as OAB has a significant impact on quality of life, often causing sufferers to stop many of the social and physical activities they previously enjoyed and preventing them from leading a 'normal' life(3).

Fesoterodine is available as a 4 mg and 8 mg prolonged-release tablet(8). In trials, initial treatment effect was seen as early as two weeks after the start of therapy with fesoterodine. In addition, the medicine was generally well tolerated(9). Dry mouth was the most commonly reported adverse event(5),(6).

Overactive bladder occurs when the detrusor muscle that controls emptying of the bladder contracts involuntarily, creating a strong, sometimes uncontrollable urge to urinate. Key symptoms include frequency (needing to pass water more than eight times per day); urgency (the sudden desire to pass urine), and sometimes urge incontinence (leaking or wetting oneself due to complete or partial loss of bladder control)(10). People with an overactive bladder may pass urine as often as 12 times a day or more(5).

Karen Logan, Nurse Consultant and head of Continence Services for Gwent NHS Healthcare Trust said "Incontinence still has a huge stigma attached to it and many patients feel isolated and suffer in silence with it for many years. As healthcare professionals we need to challenge the stigma and consider new ways of raising awareness and encouraging patients to seek help and take control of their condition."