Physician perceptions of sexual dysfunction related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms and sexual side effects related to BPH medications

A Seftel, R Rosen, L Kuritzky
International Journal of Impotence Research 2007, 19 (4): 386-92
In a large-scale epidemiology study, 50% of aging men reported erectile dysfunction (ED) or ejaculatory dysfunction (EjD), with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) an independent risk factor for each of these conditions. In light of the shift from urologists (UROs) to primary care/internal medicine physicians (PCPs) for the initial management of men with LUTS associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a survey was conducted to assess the perceptions of UROs and PCPs regarding sexual dysfunction (SD) in men with LUTS/BPH and the effects of BPH treatments (alpha(1)-adrenergic receptor antagonists (alpha-blockers) and 5alpha-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs)) on sexual function. The survey was mailed to 7500 UROs and 2500 PCPs, with 1275 (13%) surveys returned (1087 by UROs, 177 by PCPs and 11 by other specialty). Alpha-blocker monotherapy was the most common medication prescribed by both UROs (56%) and PCPs (47%). UROs estimated that 19% of their patients with LUTS/BPH experienced SD owing to their symptoms compared with the estimate of 27% by PCPs. UROs estimated that 19% of their patients experienced SD owing to their BPH medication compared with the PCP estimate of 24%. The incidence of EjD owing to BPH medications estimated by UROs (32%) was higher than that estimated by PCPs (22%); the rate of ED estimated by PCPs (34%) was higher than that estimated by UROs (23%). UROs were more aware than PCPs of the specific sexual side effects caused by alpha-blockers versus 5ARIs. These results suggest that physicians are underestimating the prevalence of SD in men with LUTS/BPH. As men with LUTS/BPH are at increased risk for SD, physicians should be especially cognizant of BPH treatment-related sexual side effects.

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