OTCs in Action Episode 43: Impressa OTC for urinary incontinence – so simple


“The concept is so simple. Why didn’t they think of this before?”

– Woman in Poise Impressa ad (see below)

“I have been using the Poise Impressa for two weeks now and love them. I can finally go out and don’t have to worry about leaking. I wear them for two days and do not use them for two days. So glad Poise came out with this product”

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This week, OTCs are in action in the US, where 35mn women experience stress urinary incontinence, a common type of bladder leakage, which can be triggered by everyday occurrences like coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting or even exercise. Until now, most women have had little choice but to absorb these leaks with pads and liners, or resort to more invasive solutions such as surgery.

Poise Impressa bladder supports, from Kimberly-Clark, are a tampon-like device designed for the temporary management of stress urinary incontinence. Inserted into the vagina, Impressa supports and lifts the urethra, helping to prevent urine from leaking for up to eight hours.

“Women with bladder leakage are looking for options to help them discreetly and confidently manage this very common issue,” said urologist Dr Jennifer Berman. “With the introduction of new Poise Impressa Bladder Supports, I’m thrilled to see the Poise brand is giving women with stress incontinence a conservative, non-surgical product option that provides life-changing results.”

A couple of years ago, MSD made a hefty investment in the Rx-to-OTC switch of Oxytrol for Women (oxybutynin) transdermal patch for overactive bladder, a different condition producing similar uncomfortable and embarrassing results. The brand generated only $14mn in its second year on the market, and was discontinued by Bayer earlier this year after its acquisition of MSD’s OTCs.

Although it’s too early to predict the long-term success of Impressa, a personal hygiene product developed by a FMCG company, the OTC industry that has been focusing on expensive, sophisticated Rx-to-OTC switches, should pause when consumers say:

“It’s so simple. Why didn’t anybody think of this before?”