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COPD drugs link to urinary problem

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who are treated with certain inhaled drugs may be at a higher risk of developing problems urinating, according to researchers.

Inhaled anticholinergic medications (IACs) are used to treat the progressive respiratory disorder, with which patients suffer from breathing difficulties due to inflammation or blockage in the lungs.The condition affects 10% of people over the age of 40.
 
IACs help to relax the airway’s muscles and reduce obstructions in airflow.
 
However, the authors note, “there is uncertainty about whether IACs cause clinically important systemic anticholinergic effects.”
 
In previous clinical trials of these medications, a connection was noticed with acute urinary retention (AUR), an inability to urinate which is considered a medical emergency.
 
In the new report published in the May 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, the authors note that AUR can lead to serious complications.
 
They say: “Understanding the risk of AUR associated with IAC therapy would help to identify those at risk for this complication.
 
“Physicians should highlight for patients the possible connection between urinary symptoms and inhaled respiratory medication use to ensure that changes in urinary flow (ie, incomplete voiding, urinary incontinence, and decreased urinary flow) are reported to the physician prescribing the IAC.”
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