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How Does the Oxybutynin Patch Work?

The oxybutynin patch belongs to a group of drugs known as antimuscarinic or anticholinergic medications. The drug works for bladder problems by blocking specific receptors (called muscarinic receptors) in the bladder, helping to relax the muscles of the bladder. Since an overactive bladder is often due to bladder muscle contractions that are too frequent and uncontrollable, the oxybutynin patch can help relieve many symptoms of bladder problems.

Oxybutynin Patch Effects

Studies have shown the oxybutynin patch to be effective for overactive bladder treatment. In clinical studies, people who used oxybutynin patch significantly reduced the frequency of wetting accidents, compared to people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredient). Additionally, people who used the patch used the bathroom less frequently and were able to pass more urine each time they used the bathroom (the frequent muscle contractions of an overactive bladder usually prevent the bladder from holding a normal amount of urine).

When and How to Use the Oxybutynin Patch

General considerations for when and how to use the oxybutynin patch include the following:
  • The oxybutynin patch is applied to the skin of the abdomen, hips, or buttocks.
  • Usually, the patch is changed twice a week (every three to four days). Try to change it on the same days each week (such as on Sundays and Wednesdays).
  • Make sure to take the old patch off when you apply a new one.
  • Choose a clean, dry area of the skin that is not irritated or damaged. Rotate the applications sites (wait at least a week before applying a patch in the same place).
  • You should be able to shower, swim, bathe, or exercise without causing any problems. However, do not rub the patch while you are doing these activities.
  • If an oxybutynin patch falls off, try to stick it back on. If it will not stay in place, apply a new patch (but still follow your usual patch-changing schedule).
  • After you have removed a patch, fold it in half and dispose of it out of reach of children and pets.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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