Urinary retention link to COPD drugs

INHALED anticholinergic (IA) drugs can increase the risk of acute urinary retention in men with COPD, according to a nested case-control study. 

Canadian researchers found that among half a million COPD patients aged over 66, nearly 10,000 men – and 1800 women – developed urinary retention over five years.

Men who had started using IA in the past 30 days had a 40% higher risk of developing acute retention compared with non-users. The risk was slightly lower in men who had used IAs for at least a month.

Men with evidence of benign prostatic hyperplasia without prostate resection had an 80% higher risk if they had initiated IA in the last 30 days. And rates of acute urinary retention were also 80% higher in men using a combination of short- and long-acting inhaled anticholinergics compared with monotherapy.

The authors said the potential for acute urinary retention with inhaled anticholinergics might not be well recognised.