FDA OKs Merck OTC version of overactive bladder drug

Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:11pm IST

A view of the Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey March 9, 2009, after Merck & Co Inc said it would acquire Schering-Plough Corp in $41.1 billion deal, widening Merck's pipeline and diversifying its portfolio of medicines. ÊREUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky

A view of the Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey March 9, 2009, after Merck & Co Inc said it would acquire Schering-Plough Corp in $41.1 billion deal, widening Merck's pipeline and diversifying its portfolio of medicines. Ê

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky

Related Topics

Stocks

   

(Reuters) - Health regulators approved Merck & Co's nonprescription version of Oxytrol to treat overactive bladder in women ages 18 and older, the agency said on Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the over-the-counter version of Oxytrol would be available for women only and that the drug remained available to men by prescription.

Overactive bladder, which affects an estimated 33 million Americans, is a condition in which the bladder squeezes too often or without warning. Symptoms include leaking urine, feeling a sudden and urgent need to urinate, and frequent urination.

Oxytrol for Women is a patch that contains oxybutynin, a medicine that helps relax the bladder muscle, and is designed to be applied to the skin every four days, the FDA said.

Oxybutynin belongs to a class of drugs known as anticholinergics. Pfizer Inc's Detrol is the market leader in the class with annual sales of about $700 million.

Oxytrol will be the first drug in the class to be sold over the counter. Merck licensed exclusive rights to sell OTC Oxytrol from Actavis Inc, the generic drugmaker formerly known as Watson Pharmaceuticals.

Merck said it expected the OTC patch to be available in the fall.

The FDA decided to approve the OTC version of the Merck drug, based on the results of nine studies of women that demonstrated that consumers can understand the information on the label, properly determine whether the product is right for them, and use the drug appropriately, the agency said.

Last week, the FDA approved the popular wrinkle treatment Botox from Allergan Inc to treat overactive bladder in people who cannot tolerate drugs from the class to which Oxytrol belongs or are not helped by these medications.

Merck shares rose 3 cents to $43.03 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Jan Paschal)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

Eat That Carrot

Eat That Carrot

Start early for a lifetime of good vision and healthy eyes.  Full Article 

Triggering Violence

Triggering Violence

What makes hospital patients turn violent?  Full Article 

Corruption Issue

Corruption Issue

After China, GlaxoSmithKline faces pressure for change.  Full Article 

Good Or Bad?

Good Or Bad?

Study of smoking cancer patients fuels e-cigarette debate.  Full Article 

Much-Needed

Much-Needed

Allowing blood donations from gay men could help save over a million lives: U.S. study.  Full Article 

Not Aware

Not Aware

Kidney patients know little about transplant benefits.  Full Article 

Get Up

Get Up

Sedentary lifestyle linked to depression.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage