Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome has severe effects on quality of life. Certain drugs are known risk factors for OAB but have not been investigated in a population-wide cohort. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of prescription drugs in the etiology of the OAB. Retrospective cohort study using a population-wide database of 4 185 098 OAB-naïve women followed Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines. We investigated the subscription use of anticholinergic medication and 188 chemical substances, which are suspected triggers for OAB (trigger medications [TMs]). We hypothesized a relationship between the prescription for one or more TM and the prescription for anticholinergic medication against OAB (marker medication [MM]). The use of MM in Austria increased from 2009 to 2012 on average by 0.025 percentage points per year (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.015-0.036). In December 2012, 1 in 123 women filled a prescription for any MM, equaling an average utilization of 0.84%. The relative risk of filling a prescription for a MM 6 months after filling a prescription for a TM was 2.70 (95% CI: 2.64-2.77). All investigated medication classes showed a higher risk for the prescription for MM. Medication from classes "genitourinary system and sex hormones" and "systemic anti-infectives" caused the highest increase in risk (109% and 89%, respectively). Prescriptions for class "cardiovascular system" caused the lowest increase in the risk (15%). Certain prescription medications are a significant risk factor for the need to take anticholinergic medication as a consequence. © 2019 The Authors. Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.