Oxybutynin is a medication that is often used to reduce the frequency or urgency of urination, which may be caused by conditions that include spina bifida or an overactive bladder. The main function of this drug is to relax the muscles of the bladder, but it often comes with side effects. Abdominal discomfort, including nausea and diarrhea, is common with the use of oxybutynin, and the eyes and mouth often become dry. Some oxybutynin side effects involve the whole body; patients may become drowsy or dizzy and tend to have trouble sleeping. More serious oxybutynin side effects include hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and difficulty passing stools or urine.
Some oxybutynin side effects should be mentioned to a doctor, but they are more bothersome than dangerous for patients. For example, many people notice that their mouth, skin and eyes become dry when taking this medication. Another symptom that affects the mouth is a change in taste, while a patient's vision may tend to become blurry. Patients may complain of nausea, heartburn and diarrhea, though constipation sometimes occurs instead. Additionally, some patients notice swelling, headaches and bladder infections while taking oxybutynin.
While some oxybutynin side effects mostly affect a few organs in particular, others have an effect on the entire body. For instance, patients may feel drowsy, dizzy and weak after they take their regular oxybutynin dose. Their mental state also may be affected, because insomnia and nervousness are often reported as side effects. Those who notice symptoms that affect their whole body or mental condition are encouraged to tell their doctor as soon as possible, because they may be able to be switched to a different medication and cut short the side effects.
There are some oxybutynin side effects that are considered more than just inconvenient; they are classified as serious health risks and warrant an immediate trip to a doctor or hospital. One example is difficulty passing urine or stools, especially when it hurts to do so. Some patients taking oxybutynin also become confused and even hallucinate, which can be particularly dangerous while driving. Patients also may notice an irregular heartbeat, and those who already have glaucoma tend to observe that this eye condition gets worse when combined with oxybutynin. As with any other drug, there also is a chance of allergic reaction occurring with oxybutynin, which usually causes symptoms that include a skin rash, swelling and wheezing.