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Am J Manag Care. 2006 Mar;12(4 Suppl):S99-S110.

An examination of treatment patterns and costs of care among patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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  • 1PharMetrics, Inc., 311 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA.



To examine utilization and costs of care for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)-related services in a large cohort of commercially insured persons.


Pharmacy and medical claims data were obtained from 61 US healthcare plans. Men aged > or = 45 years who were newly diagnosed with BPH between January 2000 and March 2001 were identified. Each patient was followed for 12 months after diagnosis; utilization and costs were calculated for common procedures and disease-related events. Costs were estimated based on health plan payments. Univariate statistics were provided for relevant measures.


A total of 77 040 patients were selected (mean age, 58.1 years). Thirty-six percent of patients had 1 or more urologist visits in the year after diagnosis. Two thirds of patients had a prostate-specific antigen test, whereas 7% had a prostate biopsy. A total of 14 392 patients (18.7%) received an alpha blocker during follow-up; 1860 patients (2.4%) received a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Approximately 2% of patients had a surgical procedure (either invasive or minimally invasive); transurethral prostatectomy costs averaged approximately dollar 5600, consisting of mean (standard deviation) costs of dollar 794 (dollar 470) for the procedure and dollar 4810 (dollar 8487) in associated inpatient costs. Re-treatment was common (18.7%) among patients with a surgical procedure, at a mean cost of dollar 1888 (dollar 1636).


Most patients newly diagnosed with BPH appear to undergo watchful waiting in the year after diagnosis. Although rates of surgical intervention and adverse events at 1 year are low, these events are costly. Strategies to prevent or delay the need for surgery, such as regular examinations, testing, and use of pharmacotherapy where indicated, may further reduce the need for surgical intervention.

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