Recent research shows that patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) who are treated with tamsulosin report urinary tract improvement and a reduction in associated depression. This study, entitled “Tamsulosin Treatment Affecting Patient-Reported Outcomes in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia-Associated Depressive Symptoms,” was published in Urology journal.
BPH patients often are troubled by difficulties in urinating, which can lead to lower urinary tract symptoms. This group of medical symptoms, characterized by frequent and possibly painful release of urine from the urinary bladder (nocturia), are in turn closely linked to depression in these patients.
Some studies have investigated the relationship between depression and LUTS, but none have addressed whether improving associated BPH symptoms can ease depressive behaviors. In this study, the researchers aimed to explore how tamsulosin treatment (tamsulosin being an alpha blocker that works by relaxing the prostate and bladder muscles so urine can flow more easily) affects LUTS and depressive symptoms among depressed and non-depressed BPH patients. A total of 93 BPH/LUTS patients over 40 years of age participated in the study, conducted from July 2013 to June 2014. The patients were divided into two subgroups identified by: 1) non-depressive symptoms defined by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) scores of 0-17, and 2) depressive symptoms determined by GDS scores of 18-30. Patients were treated with one tablet of tamsulosin 0.2 mg once a day and evaluated by means of urinary and depression rating scales. Questionnaires given a first visit, and then again at week 4 and week 12, measured the international prostate symptom score (IPSS), quality of life (QoL), patient perception of bladder condition (PPBC), overactive bladder syndrome symptom score (OABSS), and GDS. Afterward, data were recorded and comparatively analyzed in a standard manner.
Of the 93 participants, only 65 completed the study (reasons given for those who withdrew ranged from depression to adverse drug event or inability to follow-up). Results demonstrated that patients with depressive symptoms had higher IPSS and GDS scores when compared to those without depressive symptoms. However, improvements in IPSS, GDS, OABSS, PPBC, and QoL scores were registered for both groups after treatment with tamsulosin at week 4 and 12. Furthermore, when compared to patients with non-depressive symptoms, significant changes in GDS were recorded in those who manifested depressive symptoms. Finally, no significant side effects from tamsulosin were observed in the majority of patients.
Overall, this small size study showed that tamsulosin treatment improved LUTS while reducing depressive symptoms, which in turn contributed to patients’ enhanced quality of life. Researchers suggest that in the future, large-scale studies will be necessary to clarify the link between LUTS treatment and depressive symptoms.