The treatment of patients with overactive bladder (OAB) refractory to conventional treatment is gaining clinical significance. This article intends to review alternative therapy options for patients with OAB refractory to conventional treatment. A search of the PubMed database as well as the abstracts presented at the European Association of Urology and the American Urological Association annual meetings was conducted. Keywords used during this search included overactive bladder (OAB) refractory to conventional treatment, electromotive drug administration (EMDA), sacral neuromodulation, augmentation cystoplasty and cystectomy. Eighteen articles with an adequate number of patients were identified. All articles published before 2001 were not included in this analysis. Because of first-line treatment failure, 30% of the patients required alternative treatment. This included EMDA, botulinum toxin injections into the detrusor, sacral neuromodulation, augmentation cystoplasty or cystectomy. Based on this review it appears that a significant improvement in micturition parameters, continence and in quality of life was achieved. Overall EMDA, intradetrusor injections of botulinum toxin and sacral neuromodulation seem to be highly effective and safe. Augmentation cystoplasty or cystectomy remains the last choice of treatment in refractory cases.Overall EMDA, intradetrusor injections of botulinum toxin and sacral neuromodulation seem to be highly effective and safe. Augmentation cystoplasty or cystectomy remains to be the last choice of treatment in refractory cases.