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Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Sep;54(3):432-9, 439.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.12.026. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Tamsulosin for ureteral stones in the emergency department: a randomized, controlled trial.

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Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX, USA.



The alpha-adrenergic antagonist tamsulosin hydrochloride has become an increasingly common adjunct in the treatment of ureteral calculi; however, its efficacy in a general emergency department (ED) population has not been investigated.


We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of adult ED patients with distal ureteral calculi diagnosed by computed tomography scan. Patients were randomized to receive either a 10-day course of ibuprofen and oxycodone plus tamsulosin or ibuprofen and oxycodone alone. The primary outcome measure was successful spontaneous ureteral stone expulsion at 14 days. Secondary outcomes included time to stone passage, self-reported pain scores, number of colicky pain episodes, unscheduled return ED/primary care visits, number of days of missed work/usual function, amount of analgesic used, and adverse events.


Eighty subjects were enrolled in the study, with 77 completing the trial. Mean stone size was 3.6 mm (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.4 to 3.9). Successful spontaneous stone expulsion at 14 days was similar between the groups, with 27 (77.1%) subjects in the tamsulosin group and 24 (64.9%) subjects in the standard therapy group reporting spontaneous stone passage, a difference of 12% (95% CI -8.4% to 32.8%). At 2-, 5-, and 14-day follow-up, there were no clinically important (or statistically significant) differences between the groups for any secondary outcome measure. No adverse events were reported in either group.


In this cohort of adult ED patients with distal ureteral calculi, treatment with tamsulosin did not substantially improve any of the studied outcome measures compared with treatment with ibuprofen and oxycodone alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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