Fesoterodine (as one of three drugs: dutasteride, finasteride and fesoterodine) was classified B (beneficial) by LUTS-FORTA 2014, indicating that it is a medicinal product with proven or obvious efficacy in the elderly, with limited side effects and/or safety concerns.
A systematic literature review was undertaken in January 2018 using the PubMed and Google Scholar databases with the following individual and combined keywords: “fesoterodine”, “pharmacology”, “overactive bladder” and “antimuscarinics”. The aim of the review was to determine which of fesoterodine's pharmacological properties explains its clinical benefits in general patient populations with OAB and the elderly in particular. The articles in the results were then selected by publication language (English and French only), methodology (off-topic studies, reported cases and literature reviews were excluded), relevance to the subject matter and publication date prior to 31 January 2018.
A total of 205 articles was initially obtained, with 115 read and 45 selected.
It appears that the association of four pharmacological properties specific to fesoterodine can explain that this drug has a good balance between efficacy and tolerability. These properties are namely the drug's high and nearly equal affinity for both the M2 and M3 muscarinic receptors, poor penetration of the blood-brain barrier, lack of hepatic first-pass activation –fesoterodine being rapidly and extensively converted to its active metabolite, 5-hydroxymethyl tolterodine, by ubiquitous esterases-, and its extended-release formulation.
Fesoterodine's pharmacological profile is optimal for the treatment of overactive bladder. It is now recognized as one of the leading first-line treatment for this indication.