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New Class of Treatment for Overactive Bladder Approved in Europe

CHERTSEY, England, January 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

A new treatment, BETMIGA[TM] (mirabegron) has received approval from the European Commission (EC) for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms in adults.[1] Mirabegron represents the first new class of oral treatment in OAB for over 30 years. Currently around half of patients discontinue OAB treatment after only three months, often due to lack of efficacy or side effects,[2],[3] so it is important that doctors will now be able to offer patients an alternative treatment that works in a different way.

OAB is defined as urinary urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, usually with increased daytime frequency and nocturia (waking up at night one or more times to empty the bladder).[4] OAB affects more than 400 million people worldwide.[5]In Europe,OAB affects approximately 17% of men and women and increases to 30-40% for those aged over 75 years.[6] In a survey carried out in OAB patients, 65% felt OAB had adversely affected their daily life.[6] Symptoms can affect family, social and work life, as well as mental and physical wellbeing,[7] and across OAB patients, depression scores are higher, whilst quality of life scores are lower.[8]

Mirabegron will offer doctors an alternative to antimuscarinic agents, the only other class of approved oral treatment previously available for OAB. Mirabegron has a completely different mechanism of action to antimuscarinics;[9] it improves the storage capacity of the bladder without inhibiting bladder voiding, decreasing the number of times patients need to visit the toilet.[10] Dry mouth is one of the most common and bothersome side effects of antimuscarinics and often the reason for discontinuation of treatment.  In comparison, studies have shown that mirabegron has a low incidence of treatment-associated side effects, including dry mouth.[9],[11],[12],[13],[14]

Dr Ayad Abdulahad, Vice President Medical Affairs and Health Economics for Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. commented: "This is an important landmark highlighting Astellas' continued service to patients with overactive bladder, and we are delighted to be able to make a new treatment available to them.  We know that many patients discontinue their current treatments as a result of bothersome side effects or because they simply don't feel they are getting a worthwhile benefit.  We really hope that Betmiga[TM] can help change that and allow patients, whose lives are significantly disrupted by OAB on a daily basis, the opportunity to think about something other than their symptoms."  

"The introduction of mirabegron should lead to a shift in how we treat OAB symptoms in adults. It has been over 30 years since a new class of oral treatment was available for OAB patients so we are looking forward to being able to offer an effective medication without the more bothersome side effects associated with antimuscarinics," commented Professor Chris Chapple, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Lead Investigator of the mirabegron 12 month safety and tolerability study. "I see patients every day who are struggling to cope with this chronic condition. OAB can have a significant impact on a patient's quality of life. The introduction of mirabegron offers existing patients and those newly diagnosed with OAB a real alternative to current treatments."

The European Commission granted approval of mirabegron following the recommendation by the Committee for the Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in October 2012. They reviewed extensive clinical trial evidence from 7 Phase II / III studies in which over 5,000 patients received mirabegron, including 3 Phase III double-blind, randomised controlled trials conducted in the US and Europe-Australia.[11],[12],[13] In the trials, mirabegron demonstrated superior efficacy compared to placebo in the treatment of symptoms of OAB, with patients needing to visit a toilet significantly less frequently and experiencing fewer incontinence episodes.[11],[12],[13] In the trials, mirabegron was also well tolerated and exhibited a good safety profile.[11],[12],[13] In terms of quality of life, research presented at the 2011 American Urological Association (AUA) annual congress demonstrated that patients with OAB who received mirabegron reported significant improvements in treatment satisfaction, symptom bother, disease perception and quality of life, in comparison with patients taking a placebo.[15]

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is an established leader in urology in Europe, committed to improving the lives of patients with urological conditions. Its current urology portfolio includes treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), OAB and prostate cancer. With a strong emphasis on research and development, Astellas is dedicated to finding new treatments to meet unmet medical needs and has a number of treatments for urological conditions in development. As part of its ongoing commitment to the field, Astellas also provides and supports a wide range of educational opportunities for those working in the field of urology, designed to progress professional expertise and improve patient outcomes.

About overactive bladder:

Overactive bladder (OAB) is characterised by symptoms of urinary urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, usually with increased daytime frequency and nocturia (awakening at night one or more times to empty the bladder).[4]

About mirabegron:

Mirabegron is a once daily oral β3-adrenoceptor agonist discovered and developed by Astellas. It is the first compound approved in this new class of treatment for OAB, using a novel mechanism of action compared to antimuscarinics, the current treatment standard.[8] Antimuscarinics work by binding to muscarinic receptors in the bladder and inhibiting involuntary bladder contractions. Mirabegron works by stimulating the β3 receptors in the muscle of the bladder causing relaxation of the bladder muscle, improving the storage capacity of the bladder without impeding bladder voiding.[10]

Astellas submitted a New Drug Application and Market Authorisation Application for mirabegron to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in August 2011 and received FDA approval on 28th June 2012, and European approval on 21st December 2012. In Japan, Astellas was granted marketing approval under the trade name of BETANIS® tablet in July 2011. Additionally, there is a recently completed multiregional Phase III study in China, Korea, Taiwan, and India.

About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.:

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is the European headquarters of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative pharmaceuticals. The organisation's focus is to deliver outstanding R&D and marketing to continue growing in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 21 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 4,300 staff across these regions. For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit


  1. Data on file
  2. Benner J.S., Nichol M.B., Rovner E.S., et al. Patient-reported reasons for discontinuing overactive bladder medication. BJU Int 2010; 105(9): 1276-82
  3. Wagg A, Compion G, Fahey A, Siddiqui E. Persistence with prescribed antimuscarinic therapy for overactive bladder: a UK experience. BJUI 2011. Doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11023.x
  4. Abrams P. et al. Reviewing the ICS 2002 Terminology Report: The Ongoing Debate. Neurourol Urodyn 2006; 25: 293-294
  5. Irwin D.E., et al.Worldwide prevalence estimates of lower urinary tract symptoms, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence and bladder outlet obstruction.BJU Int 2011; 108(7):1132-8
  6. Milsom I et al. How widespread are the symptoms of an overactive bladder and how are they managed? A population-based prevalence study. BJU Int 2001;87(9)760-6
  7. Brown J.S. et al. Comorbidities associated with overactive bladder. Am J Manag Care 2000; 6(11 Suppl): S574-579
  8. Stewart WF et al. Prevalence and burden of overactive bladder in the United States. World J Urol 2003; 20: 327-336
  9. Khullar V et al. Efficacy of mirabegron in patients with and without prior anti-muscarinic therapy for overactive bladder (OAB): Post-hoc analysis of a prospective, randomised European-Australian phase III trial. EAU 2012 Poster AM12-2389
  10. Tyagi P et al.  Mirabegron: safety review Expert Opin. Drug Safety 2011;10.2: 287-294
  11. Khullar V., Amarenco G., Angulo J.C., et al. Efficacy and safety of mirabegron, a β3-adrenoceptor agonist, in patients with overactive bladder: results from a randomized European-Australian phase 3 trial. Eur Urol 2012;
  12. Nitti V., Auerbach A., Martin N., et al. Results of a randomized phase III trial of mirabegron in patients with overactive bladder. J Urol 2012; 10.1016/j.juro.2012.10.017
  13. Van Kerrebroeck P, Barkin J, Castro-Diaz D et al. Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III study to assess the efficacy and safety of mirabegron 25 mg and 50 mg once daily in overactive bladder (OAB). Presented at ICS 2012.
  14. Chapple CR., Kaplan SK., Mitcheson D., et al. Randomized double-blind, active-controlled phase 3 study to assess 12-month safety and efficacy of mirabegron, a β3-adrenoceptor agonist, in overactive bladder. Eur Urol 2012; 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.10.048
  15. Nitti V et al. Mirabegron improves patient-reported outcomes in patients with overactive bladder syndrome - results from a North-American study. Presented at AUA 2011

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