Profits for Botox manufacturer Allergan were up 16% percent in the last quarter, thanks in part to sales of the muscle-paralyzing injectionable. But the company isn't content to simply eliminate wrinkles (or rather, create wrinkles in strange new locations). Allergan is hoping that later this year, Botox will be approved to treat overactive bladder, thus making the $1.5 billion-a-year business even more lucrative.
In an interview with Reuters, Allergan Inc Chief Executive David Pyott gushes about the toxin's ability to treat the condition, which causes a variety of unfortunate bathroom issues including frequent urination, the urgent need to urinate, and inability to control urination. "Current drugs for overactive bladder just don't work that well," says Pyott "and studies show that after a year 70 percent of patients don't respond to treatment."
The pills typically used to treat overactive bladder can cause dry mouth, constipation, and other side effects. One shot of Botox to the bladder could work for about nine months. This application would actually mark a return to Botox's original use, which was treating excessive muscle contractions, as the condition is caused by uncontrollable contractions of the bladder.
Botox is already approved for a variety of non-cosmetic purposes, including the treatment of migraines, neck pain, and eye muscle problems. The prospect of a better method of controlling what sounds like a pretty unpleasant ailment is exciting, but Pyott quickly veers off his message of how much the drug could help people. If U.S. regulators approve the use of Botox for overactive bladder, Allergan stands to make up to $500 million annually. Pyott says, "For a company with a revenue base of $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion, another $500 million franchise is kind of cool." We're guessing those will bladder issues will find not wetting themselves "kind of cool" too, so the situation is win-win. Except for the rest of us, who will be subjected to commercials in which a woman takes a break from running on the beach to convince us that we all have an overactive bladder.
Overactive Bladder Next Botox Frontier [Reuters]
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