When a man has benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – an enlarged prostate – he may have trouble with urination. Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) happen because the tissue in the prostate gland grows inward. Sometimes, it presses on the urethra, making it difficult for urine to leave the body.
Men with LUTS may feel the need to urinate more often, especially at night. Urination might take some straining effort. And urine may not come out in a steady stream.
One of the first medical therapies a doctor might try is medication. Two of the most common drugs used to treat BPH are alpha-blockers, which relax the prostate and bladder muscles, and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which can shrink prostate tissue.
These medications may be taken on their own or in combination. In other words, men might be prescribed one alpha-blocker and one 5-alpha reductase inhibitor to be taken together.
Research has shown that combination therapy is more effective than monotherapy (using only one drug) for treating BPH. However, in a recent study involving men taking BPH drugs, about 88% were treated with monotherapy. Only 12% received combination therapy. Alpha-blockers were the most commonly-prescribed treatment.
These rates were similar to those found in Europe and the United States, the study authors noted.
If you or your partner have an enlarged prostate, ask your doctor about the medical therapies that are best for you. If monotherapy isn’t working well, combination therapy could be worth a try.
“Most BPH Patients Receive One Therapy Despite Studies Showing Combo Therapy Appears Superior”
(March 17, 2016)
Canadian Urological Association Journal
Bishr, Mohamed, et al.
“Medical Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Results from a Population-Based Study”
Urology Care Foundation
“Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – Medical Therapies”