Effects of Analgesic and Anesthetic Medications on Lower Urinary Tract Function

Sammy E. Elsamra, MD; Pamela Ellsworth, MD, FAAP, FACS


Urol Nurs. 2012;32(2):60-67. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Analgesic and anesthetic medications may affect lower urinary tract function via a variety of mechanisms. This article reviews the more commonly used medications and their effects on lower urinary tract function.


The lower urinary tract (LUT), which consists of the bladder, urethra, and urinary sphincter, serves to allow for the functional storage and elimination of urine. This complex process is orchestrated by reflexive neural pathways (which are under control from higher centers) that allow for the coordination of bladder and sphincter. The impact of anesthetics, general or regional, on this complex neural network may affect this delicate control and may result in urinary retention. Although the association between the use of certain medications and the occurrence of acute urinary retention is well established, the association is poorly defined (Thomas, Chow, & Kirby, 2004). Limited information is available regarding the effects of analgesic and anesthetic medications on the LUT. This article provides a summary of the current available literature on the effects of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); opiates; and spinal anesthetics on LUT function.


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