Purpose: The clinical and urodynamic effects of oral alpha 1-selective adrenoceptor blockers in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia were quantified, and side effects and patient tolerance were assessed.
Materials and methods: A total of 29 original reports of placebo controlled clinical trials of alpha-blockers in which results were adequately presented was identified and reviewed, along with additional pertinent literature. We assumed that the efficacy of the different alpha-blockers was basically the same and the weighted average treatment effect was calculated in comparison with placebo.
Results: The average improvement in maximum urine flow rate was 1.5 ml. per second but this rate would probably approach 1.8 to 1.9 ml. per second if all dosages had been titrated up to the highest level tolerated. Overall symptom score decreased by 14% and residual urine volume decreased by 29%. A slight decrease in detrusor pressure during voiding was suggested.
Conclusions: alpha-Blockers were beneficial in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Tolerance to treatment appeared to develop in a large proportion of patients after 6 months of therapy. However, for patients who benefit from long-term use of alpha-blockers effective treatment might be maintained for years.