Updated 18 March 2015

Botox for treating overactive bladders

Overactive bladders later this year could become the next big frontier for Botox, the anti-wrinkle drug, and significantly boost sales of the $1.5 billion-a-year product.


Overactive bladders later this year could become the next big frontier for Botox, the anti-wrinkle drug, and significantly boost sales of the $1.5 billion-a-year product about according to company Chief Executive David Pyott.

Allergan earlier on reported profit growth for the second-quarter, fuelled largely by sales of Botox to smooth wrinkles and for a growing range of medical uses.

Overactive bladder, caused by uncontrollable contractions of the bladder, causes frequent urination, urgent need to urinate and inability to control urination.

"Current drugs for overactive bladder just don't work that well," Pyott said in an interview, "and studies show that after a year 70% of patients don't respond to treatment."

Standard treatments, pills called anticholinergics, including oxybutynin and GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Vesicare, are associated with dry mouth and can cause constipation and other side effects.

What Botox injection does

A single injection of Botox into the bladder can provide significant relief for up to a year and significantly improve quality of life, Pyott said, particularly for adults who now need to wear diapers.

Pyott said he expects US regulators this year to approve Botox for those whose overactive bladder is caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, which together number about 350,000 patients in the United States.

Several years later, Allergan hopes to win approval to market it more widely to tens of millions of people with nocturia – meaning those who need to get up repeatedly during the night to urinate.

Pyott declined to forecast sales of Botox for overactive bladder, but said Wall Street analysts are projecting annual sales of up to $500 million. "For a company with a revenue base of $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion, another $500 million franchise is kind of cool," he said.

Botox, whose active ingredient is a toxin that blocks nerve signals, gets about half its sales from reducing wrinkles and the rest from a number of medical uses, including treatment of migraine headaches and spasticity.

Botox sales

The product's second-quarter sales rose 16 % to $418 million, helped by its recent approval to treat migraines and a somewhat stronger economy, which enabled more patients to pay out of pocket for cosmetic uses.

Allergan said that net income rose to $249 million, or 79 cents per share, from $241 million, or 78 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding special items, the company earned 96 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 95 cents, according to Thomson.

Sales rose almost 14% to $1.40 billion, topping Wall Street forecasts of $1.34 billion. They would have increased 9.6%, if not for the weaker dollar, which drives up the value of sales in overseas markets.

"Strong top-line trends continue," JP Morgan analyst Chris Schott said in a research note, "and we expect these dynamics to continue throughout 2011."

Schott said Allergan boosted its 2011 overall sales forecast by $120 million to $170 million. But he noted the company reported higher-than-expected spending in the second quarter on sales and general and administrative expenses.

Sales of prescription eye medicines, by far the company's biggest business, rose 14% to $658 million.

Sales of medical devices rose 12 percent to $245 million, fuelled by demand for breast implants and dermal fillers.

But sales of the company's Lap Band product, to treat obesity, continued to decline, as did sales of the company's Latisse eyelash-growth product.

Allergan nudged up its full-year profit forecast to between $3.59 and $3.63 per share, excluding special items. It had previously expected $3.56 to $3.62.

Allergan shares were up 3% at $79.68 in late afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reuters Health, Ransdell Pierson, August 2011) 

Read more:

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Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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