Incontinence Home > Detrol

Detrol is used to treat overactive bladder symptoms, such as urinary incontinence and frequent urination. It works by relaxing the bladder muscle, which minimizes the frequent and uncontrollable bladder contractions that cause an overactive bladder. Detrol comes in tablet form and is typically taken twice a day. Side effects include dry mouth, headache, and constipation.

What Is Detrol?

Detrol® (tolterodine tartrate) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of overactive bladder. Specifically, it is approved to help treat the following overactive bladder symptoms:
  • Frequent urination (usually defined as needing to go more than eight times in 24 hours)
  • Sudden, frequent urges to urinate
  • Leaking accidents (known as urinary incontinence or urge incontinence).
Detrol is also available in a long-acting, once-daily tablet (see Detrol LA for more information). This article refers to the short-acting form of Detrol.
(Click Detrol Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Detrol?

It is made by Pfizer, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Detrol is one of a group of medications known as antimuscarinics or anticholinergics. It works by blocking specific receptors in the bladder, called muscarinic receptors, which helps the muscles of the bladder to relax. Since an overactive bladder is often due to bladder muscle contractions that are too frequent and uncontrollable, Detrol can help relieve many of the symptoms of bladder problems.


Studies have shown Detrol to be effective in relieving many of the symptoms of an overactive bladder. In clinical studies, people who took the drug significantly reduced the frequency of wetting accidents and needed to use the bathroom less frequently. In addition, people who took Detrol were able to pass more urine each time they used the bathroom (the frequent muscle contractions of an overactive bladder usually prevent the bladder from holding a normal amount of urine).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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