There might be a new non-invasive option for treating stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Up to 35 percent of adult women are affected by this common disorder, which is when coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting or exercising can trigger unintentional urine leakage.
A new oral treatment, a once-a-day pill, is being tested by urologists at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. The medicine, enobosarm, rebuilds muscle mass and has been studied already for its usefulness for cancer patients. It is a selective androgen receptor modulator.
“This isn’t a situation that you have to live with. Know that it isn’t. Get help for it,” said Kathy Abourezk, an attorney who was willing to speak up about her experiences with SUI to WDIV Detroit and who is participating in a clinical trial for the possible new treatment option.
“We’re very excited about this trial. It’s actually the first in the world,” Dr. Kenneth Peters, head of the urology department at Beaumont, told WDIV. “Kathy is the very first person ever to be treated for this condition using this medication.”
With stress urinary incontinence, weakened muscles in the pelvic floor no longer support the bladder and urethra, and pelvic floor exercises – called Kegels – are an important part of treatment.
According to Dr. Peters, “The highest concentration of the receptors you have in your body that this drug works in are in your pelvic floor muscles. It happens to be a perfect storm to consider studying it for this. I kind of call it ‘Kegels in a bottle.’ It’s like building muscle without having to do anything.”
After 90 days on the medication Abourezk reports an estimated 80 percent improvement in symptoms and increased energy and strength with no negative side effects. Both she and Dr. Peters are encouraged, WDIV reports.
The hospital plans to expand the trial by enrolling up to 35 postmenopausal women who will take the drug and test its safety and effectiveness.
“This is so novel, and it has, I think, a great potential to make a quality of life difference in the lives of patients who suffer from this,” Dr. Peters told WDIV. “If there’s a way to do this in a non-invasive way that’s safe, it really could just change our entire practice of medicine.”
This could be great news for many suffering from this disorder who might have been discouraged with their current treatment options in light of the recent litigation surrounding the medical devices that have been in use to surgically repair pelvic floor disorders and stress urinary incontinence, known as transvaginal mesh (TVM) devices.
In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified transvaginal mesh as a high-risk device. There are some 70,000 lawsuits being brought against different manufacturers, alleging that the devices cause severe injuries such as chronic pain, organ perforation, pain during intercourse, and mesh eroding into surrounding tissue.
For more information on the study and its criteria, call Beaumont Urology Research at 248-551-3355.