|Type of medicine||Antimuscarinic|
|Used for||Symptoms of urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence|
|Available as||Prolonged-release tablets|
Darifenacin is used to treat symptoms such as urinary frequency, which is a need to pass urine more often than normal, and urinary urgency, which is a need to pass urine more urgently than usual. You also may pass urine when you do not mean to. There are several different causes of these urinary symptoms, such as weakened pelvic floor muscles, problems causing your bladder muscles to contract too much or too early, or something causing an obstruction. Sometimes the cause of these symptoms is unknown.
Darifenacin works by reducing the activity of your bladder and increasing the volume of urine that your bladder can hold. This helps to control the release of urine and eases your symptoms.
Before taking darifenacin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking darifenacin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have a condition which can cause a blockage in your stomach, bowel, or urinary tract.
- If you have glaucoma (an increased pressure in your eyes).
- If you have hiatus hernia, an overactive thyroid, or high blood pressure.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have a heart condition, such as an abnormal heart rhythm, problems with the blood vessels in your heart, or heart failure.
- If you have problems with your prostate.
- If you have myasthenia gravis (this is a condition causing muscle weakness).
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take darifenacin
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about darifenacin, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take one tablet every day unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor. Your dose will also be on the label of your pack of tablets.
- Try to take your tablets at the same time of day each day as this will help you to remember to take them. You can take them before, during or after your meals. Take them with a drink of water which will help you to swallow them.
- The tablets have been specially made to release darifenacin evenly over the day, so it is important that you swallow them whole - do not chew or crush them.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress and review your treatment.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with darifenacin. This is because some medicines (particularly antihistamines) can increase the chance you will experience unwanted effects such as a dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision.
- Drinks containing caffeine (for example, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cola) may make your symptoms worse. This is because caffeine is a natural diuretic and will make you need to pass urine. If you drink a lot of caffeine-containing fluids, consider switching to decaffeinated alternatives.
- Try to maintain a normal life as much as possible with regard to drinking and visiting the toilet. However, drinking late at night may mean your sleep is disturbed by the desire to get up to go to the toilet, so you may want to avoid drinking too much during the evening.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking darifenacin.
Can darifenacin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects, although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common darifenacin side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre, and drink several glasses of water each day|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling sick, indigestion, abdominal pain||Eat simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Dry nose, dry eyes||If either of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Less common side-effects: feeling drowsy, blurred vision||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store darifenacin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Emselex® 7.5 mg prolonged-release tablets; Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic medicines Compendium. Dated January 2012.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson