Objective: To determine if finasteride can reduce symptoms in men with a clinical diagnosis of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis (National Institutes of Health, NIH, category IIIA chronic pelvic pain syndrome, CPPS) compared with placebo.
Patients and methods: Men (76) with category IIIA CPPS enrolled in four North American prostatitis research centres were randomized after a 2-week placebo run-in to finasteride or placebo for 6 months. The primary efficacy variable was a subjective overall assessment (SOA); the secondary efficacy variables included the NIH chronic prostatitis symptom index (NIH-CPSI) and safety data. Patients were assessed at screening, baseline (after the 2-week placebo run-in), 3 and 6 months.
Results: Sixty-four patients had at least one assessment on medication (31 placebo, 33 finasteride); 75% of the finasteride and 54% of the placebo group had at least a mild improvement (defined as > 25% improvement in SOA), and 44% and 27%, respectively, a moderate or marked improvement (>50% improvement in SOA). The trend was similar in the NIH-CPSI scores. Five patients in the finasteride and seven in the placebo group reported medication-related adverse events.
Conclusion: This randomized placebo-controlled pilot study suggests that finasteride was of benefit for some men with category IIIA CPPS, but the results do not justify recommending finasteride as monotherapy, except for men who also have benign prostatic hyperplasia. A larger, properly powered study, possibly evaluating combination with other therapies or specifically in men with prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia, is required to confirm any clinical benefit.