Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) management in the primary care setting.
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Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) occurs in up to 50% of men by age 50, and the incidence increases with age. This common clinical problem is diagnosed by history, including the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) questionnaire, and physical examination by digital rectal examination (DRE). Initial management for BPH includes lifestyle modification, and smooth muscle relaxant alpha blocker therapy. Alpha blockers usually take effect quickly within 3-5 days, and have minimal side effects. Current commonly used alpha blockers include the selective alpha blockers tamsulosin (Flomax), alfusosin (Xatral), and silodosin (Rapaflo). For patients with larger prostates, the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor class (finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart)) work effectively to shrink prostate stroma resulting in improved voiding. The 5-ARI class of drugs, in addition to reducing prostate size, also reduce the need for future BPH-related surgery, and reduce the risk of future urinary retention. Drugs from the phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor class may now be considered for treating BPH. Once daily 5 mg tadalafil has been shown to improve BPH-related symptoms and is currently approved to treat patients with BPH. Referral to a urologist can be considered for patients with a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA), especially while on 5-ARI, failure of urinary symptom control despite maximal medical therapy, suspicion of prostate cancer, hematuria, recurrent urinary infections, urinary retention, or renal failure. Currently the primary care physician is armed with multiple treatment options to effectively treat men with symptomatic BPH.
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