Sounds like 'OX-i-BUE-ti-nin'

Easy-to-read medicine information about oxybutynin – what it is, how to take oxybutynin safely and possible side effects. Oxybutynin is commonly called Ditropan.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medicine to treat urinary symptoms such as incontinence
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as anti-cholinergics.
  • Apo-Oxybutynin®
  • Oxybutynin®
  • Oxytrol® (patch)
  • Ditropan®

What is oxybutynin?

  • Oxybutynin is used to treat some bladder control problems and urinary conditions such as overactive bladder, incontinence, urinary frequency (the need to pass urine more often than usual) and urinary urgency (the need to pass urine more urgently than usual).
  • It works by relaxing the muscles in the bladder and in this way controls the release of urine eases the symptoms.
  • Read more about bladder control problems.


  • The usual starting dose of oxybutynin is 2.5 milligrams two times a day.  
  • Depending on your response, your doctor may increase your dose gradually to 5 milligrams three times a day.
  • Always take your oxybutynin exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much oxybutynin to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take oxybutynin

  • Take oxybutynin tablets with a glass of water at the same times each day.
  • You can take oxybutynin with or without food.
  • To reduce your urinary symptoms, you must keep taking oxybutynin every day.
  • Limit drinking alcohol while your are taking oxybutynin. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, oxybutynin can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Constipation
  • These are quite common when you first start taking oxybutynin.
  • Read more for advice on managing constipation
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Dry mouth
  • To prevent dry mouth, avoid using mouthwashes with alcohol.
  • Chewing on sugar-free gum, and drinking small sips of water as needed, may also be helpful.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Read more about dry mouth
  • Drowsiness, sleepiness or feeling tired
  • This is common when starting oxybutynin or after increasing the dose.
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Feeling dizzy
  • This usually only happens when you start your medication. It should wear off in a few weeks.
  • Try not to stand up too quickly. You are at risk of falls.
  • If you feel dizzy, don't drive.
  • Reduced sweating
  • Fever
  • Heat stroke
  • Avoid hot environmental conditions.
  • Increase your fluid intake in hot weather or when exercising.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, hives or itches, swelling of the face, lips, mouth 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.


  • Oxybutynin may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Oxybutynin may also interact with some medicines available over-the-counter, without a prescription such as some antihistamines (also in anti-allergy, anti-nausea and cough/cold preparations),  meclozine (e.g. Sea-legs®), prochlorperazine (e.g. Buccastem®) and  anti-diarrhoeals (e.g. Diastop®). Ask your pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on oxybutynin.
Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.
Oxybutynin Patient Info, UK.

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Nicola Rowbottom, Pharmacist, South Canterbury Last reviewed: 09 Jan 2017