Objectives: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) category III chronic prostatitis syndromes (nonbacterial chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia) are common disorders with few effective therapies. Bioflavonoids have recently been shown in an open-label study to improve the symptoms of these disorders in a significant proportion of men. The aim of this study was to confirm these findings in a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Methods: Thirty men with category IIIa and IIIb chronic pelvic pain syndrome were randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either placebo or the bioflavonoid quercetin 500 mg twice daily for 1 month. The NIH chronic prostatitis symptom score was used to grade symptoms and the quality-of-life impact at the start and conclusion of the study. In a follow-up unblind, open-label study, 17 additional men received 1 month of a supplement containing quercetin, as well as bromelain and papain (Prosta-O), which enhance bioflavonoid absorption.
Results: Two patients in the placebo group refused to complete the study because of worsening symptoms, leaving 13 placebo and 15 bioflavonoid patients for evaluation in the blind study. Both the quercetin and placebo groups were similar in age, symptom duration, and initial symptom score. Patients taking placebo had a mean improvement in NIH symptom score from 20.2 to 18.8 (not significant), while those taking the bioflavonoid had a mean improvement from 21.0 to 13.1 (P = 0.003). Twenty percent of patients taking placebo and 67% of patients taking the bioflavonoid had an improvement of symptoms of at least 25%. In the 17 patients who received Prosta-Q in the open-label study, 82% had at least a 25% improvement in symptom score.
Conclusions: Therapy with the bioflavonoid quercetin is well tolerated and provides significant symptomatic improvement in most men with chronic pelvic pain syndrome.