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Urology. 1998 Jun;51(6):861-72.

Alpha-blockade therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia: from a nonselective to a more selective alpha1A-adrenergic antagonist.

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Section of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is very common in older men, causing symptoms that can markedly impair quality of life. Surgical treatment, typically transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), is highly effective but can be costly and is associated with the risk for significant morbidity. Medical treatments for BPH are targeted toward reducing bladder outlet obstruction either by androgen blockade to reduce prostatic volume or alpha-adrenergic blockade to relax the smooth muscle tone of the prostate. In recent years, understanding of the sympathetic innervation of the prostate has improved. This has been paralleled by the development of alpha-adrenergic blocking agents, from nonselective alpha-antagonists, to selective alpha1-antagonists, to the more selective alpha1A-antagonists. It is anticipated that more specific agents will optimize the therapeutic effectiveness of alpha-adrenergic blockade in the prostate while reducing the side effects associated with alpha-adrenergic blockade in other areas of the body, such as the vascular system. This article reviews the evolution of alpha-blockade therapy in management of BPH, focusing on tamsulosin, an agent targeted toward the alpha1A-adrenoceptor that predominates in the prostate. Clinical trials in Europe and the United States have provided evidence that tamsulosin is effective at doses of 0.4 and 0.8 mg/day. At both doses, tamsulosin is associated with significant improvements in the American Urological Association symptom score and the mean and peak urinary flow rates as compared with placebo. This once-daily alpha1A-adrenergic antagonist is well-tolerated, with a minimal potential for the side effects associated with alphas-blocker therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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