From the Journals

Incontinence trial finds small advantage for Botox over sacral neuromodulation


OnabotulinumtoxinA decreased daily episodes of urinary incontinence by a small amount, compared with sacral neuromodulation, but did not appear to impact several quality of life measures and raised the rates of urinary tract infection and self-catheterization, according to findings from a comparative effectiveness study.

In an open-label randomized trial directly comparing the two approaches for refractory urgency incontinence, onabotulinumtoxinA showed a statistically significant advantage over sacral neuromodulation, but whether this translates into a clinically significant difference is unclear.

“Overall, these findings make it uncertain whether onabotulinumtoxinA provides a clinically important net benefit, compared with sacral neuromodulation,” said Cindy L. Amundsen, MD, of Duke University, Durham N.C., and her associates.

Noting that a recent systematic review of the literature found insufficient evidence to recommend one of these treatments over the other, the investigators performed their study at nine medical centers participating in the National Institutes of Health’s Pelvic Floor Disorder Network. Study participants included 386 women who had a minimum of six urgency incontinence episodes per day and whose symptoms persisted despite treatment with at least one behavioral or physical therapy intervention and at least two medical therapies. They were followed up at 6 months.

In the intention-to-treat analysis, the 190 women who received a single injection of onabotulinumtoxinA showed a mean reduction of 3.9 daily episodes of urinary incontinence, compared with a reduction of 3.3 episodes for the 174 women who underwent sacral neuromodulation. The onabotulinumtoxinA group also showed slightly greater improvement on the Overactive Bladder Short Form score for symptom bother and on the Overactive Bladder Satisfaction of Treatment questionnaire, Dr. Amundsen and her associates reported (JAMA. 2016;316[13]:1366-1374).

However, there were no significant differences between the two study groups in measures of convenience, adverse effects, treatment preference, or other quality of life factors. And onabotulinumtoxinA was associated with a higher rate of urinary tract infection (35% vs. 11%) and of intermittent self-catheterization (8% vs. 0% at 1 month).

This study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. Dr. Amundsen reported having no relevant financial disclosures; two of her associates reported ties to Pfizer, Medtronic (maker of the InterStim sacral neuromodulation device), Allergan (maker of Botox), and Axonics.

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