In a nutshell
This study investigated what can predict treatment success in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Researchers concluded that certain bladder characteristics, as identified by ultrasound, are reliable predictors of treatment success with alpha-blockers.
Men with BPH often experience bothersome urinary symptoms that can reduce quality of life and interfere with everyday activities. Drug therapy is often the first-choice treatment. Commonly prescribed drugs are alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin (Flomax). However, not all men respond to drug therapy, and often require alternative treatments. This study examined whether certain markers can reliably predict the outcome of drug therapy with alpha-blockers. Since alpha-blocker treatment is associated with various side-effects, predicting treatment success may reduce unnecessary adverse effects.
Methods & findings
A total of 166 men with BPH were included in this study. All men completed questionnaires and received an abdominal ultrasound exam, before undergoing treatment with tamsulosin over the course of 6 months.
Drug therapy with tamsulosin failed to improve urinary symptoms in 36% of men. Factors such as age and PSA levels (prostate-specific antigen, an indicator of prostate growth) were similar among men that experienced successful treatment and men that experienced unsuccessful treatment.
However, symptom severity before treatment and certain bladder characteristics on ultrasound were associated with treatment failure. Men with more severe urinary symptoms before the study were significantly less likely to respond to alpha-blocker therapy. Ultrasound findings such as bladder wall thickness, estimated weight of the bladder, and portions of the prostate protruding into the bladder were also found to be associated with unsuccessful drug therapy.
The bottom line
The researchers concluded that an abdominal ultrasound exam of the bladder could help identify suitable, and less suitable, candidates for treatment of BPH with alpha-blockers.
The fine print
Larger clinical are needed to confirm these preliminary results.
Published By :
Nov 19, 2015
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