Pfizer has launched Toviaz in the UK, saying that the drug should considerably improve the quality of life for people suffering from incontinence.

Toviaz (fesoterodine) is a once-daily antimuscarinic agent for the treatment of the symptoms of overactive bladder. In two large clinical trials involving nearly 2,000 patients, the drug significantly improved the symptoms of OAB compared to placebo, and at least three-quarters of patients taking the medicine said their condition had improved or greatly improved compared with 53% on placebo.

Patients taking Toviaz also showed statistically and clinically significant improvements in health-related quality of life compared to placebo. The treatment is available as a 4mg and 8mg prolonged-release tablet and the basic National Health Service cost is the same for both doses – £29.03 for 28 tablets. The price is on a par with Pfizer’s already-marketed OAB treatment Detrusitol XL (extended-release tolterodine). Fesoterodine, which was licensed from Schwarz Pharma in 2006, was generally well-tolerated and dry mouth was the most commonly reported adverse event (more pronounced in the 8 mg group).

Con Kelleher, a consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London said that Toviaz “offers the benefit of flexible titratable dosing combined with the established efficacy and safety of tolterodine”. He added that this will allow physicians “to tailor the treatment of patients suffering from OAB to achieve the best balance of efficacy and tolerability".

OAB affects almost five million people in the UK, and with an ageing population, this figure is likely to rise. Pfizer quoted Karen Logan, head of Continence Services for Gwent NHS Healthcare Trust as saying that “incontinence still has a huge stigma attached to it and many patients feel isolated and suffer in silence with it for many years”. She added that “we need to challenge the stigma and consider new ways of raising awareness and encouraging patients to seek help and take control of their condition.”