Toviaz (fesoterodine fumarate), manufactured by Schwarz Pharma of Zwickau, Germany, and distributed by Pfizer, has been approved to help patients suffering from overactive bladder (OAB). The condition, which affects an estimated one in six Americans, remains highly undertreated.

Taken as a once-daily, extended-release tablet, Toviaz works by relaxing the smooth-muscle tissue of the bladder, thus reducing the urge to urinate, urinary frequency, and sudden urinary incontinence, all characteristic OAB symptoms.

The recommended starting dose is 4 mg, which can be increased to 8 mg if needed, based on individual response and tolerability. In two 12-week, randomized, controlled studies, the drug showed a statistically significant improvement in decreasing the number of times patients needed to urinate per day, as well as the number of urine-leaking episodes they experienced per day, in comparison with placebo.

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Toviaz is not approved for pediatric use. It will be available in the United States in the first half of 2009.