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Journalist with a "going" problem balks at overactive bladder disease-mongering

Jamie Kopf Hirsh, who does the Consumer Reports AdWatch series, gets personal in revealing that she urinates often – at least 10 times a day on average. So does she have overactive bladder? No, and she doesn’t fall prey to the overactive marketing of OAB drugs. (Yep, it has its own acronym now – just like ED for erectile dysfunction or PE for premature ejaculation.) On the CR website, she writes:

“I asked my doctor about these drugs, just like the ads suggested. And she asked me a few things back. Did I have any problems with my urination other than the frequency–like having accidents, feeling like I couldn’t get to the bathroom on time, or leaking urine inadvertently? Well, no. Did I drink coffee? Yep, every day. Alcohol? A bit, yeah. Water? Yeah, lots. She said the amount I was urinating made sense given how much liquid I drank and the fact that, given my petite stature and family history of constant pit stops, chances were I had a pretty small bladder. She could prescribe one of the drugs, she said, which work by powerfully suppressing the urge to urinate. But I probably didn’t need it.”

It’s an example of disease-mongering, she explains, in the latest drug AdWatch video.

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Comments (6)

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Jo

April 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

Count me in as one who decided not to use drugs to curtail frequent urination. Glad to not be onboard the OAB train, even if it means frequent pit stops.

Liz Scherer

April 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I watched this video and read her piece. I say hogwash. Disease mongering? OAB is a seriously underdiagnosed, not talked about problem in this country, affecting millions of women. Doctors don’t want to discuss it (I’ve seen and have the data) and so patients are often left to their own devices. Regardless of what you think about Toviaz, I applaud them for bringing this disease out of the closet. And BTW, it’s not indicated for a woman who drinks too much coffee and then pees 12 times a day.

Gary Schwitzer

April 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Liz,
Maybe you could specify exactly what you think is “hogwash” in her piece.
She wrote:
“There are people who need drugs for urinary symptoms—indeed, our own Best Buy Drugs project offers research-based recommendations on the best medications approved to treat overactive bladder, including some you may have seen advertised. But plenty of people don’t need medication.”
Her main point, it seems, was that OAB drugmakers leave “the definition of the conditions they’re intended to treat nice and vague—so that you’re left to ponder whether you, too, have a problem that requires drug treatment.”