Efficacy and safety of 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor monotherapy in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: A meta-analysis. PloS one Kim, J. H., Baek, M. J., Sun, H. Y., Lee, B., Li, S., Khandwala, Y., Del Giudice, F., Chung, B. I. 2018; 13 (10): e0203479


BACKGROUND: Although combination therapy with 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor (5ARI) and alpha-blocker is one of the standard interventions in symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), 5ARI monotherapy is seldom the focus of attention. Adverse events associated with 5ARI include depression and suicidal attempts in addition to persistent erectile dysfunction. The aim of this study is to update our knowledge of clinical efficacy and incidence of adverse events associated with 5ARI treatment in symptomatic BPH.METHODS AND FINDINGS: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) from 1966 until March, 2017 was performed using database from PubMed, Cochrane Collaboration and Embase. A total of 23395 patients were included in this study and the inclusion criteria were: RCTs with 5ARI and placebo in symptomatic BPH patients. Parameters included prostate specific antigen (PSA), prostate volume (PV), International Prostate Symptom Score (IPPS), post-void residual urine (PVR), voiding symptoms of IPSS (voiding IPSS), maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax), and adverse events (AEs). A meta-analysis with meta-regression was performed for each effect size and adverse events, sensitivity analysis, cumulative analysis along with the analysis of ratio of means (ROM) in the placebo group. A total of 42 studies were included in this study for review, and a total of 37 studies were included in the meta-analysis, including a total of 23395 patients (treatment group: 11392, placebo group: 12003). The effect size of all variables except PVR showed a significant improvement following 5ARI treatment compared with placebo. However, the effect size of differences showed declining trend in PV, IPSS and Qmax according to recent years of publication. In ROM analysis, PV showed no significant increase in the placebo group, with a ROM of 1.00 (95% CI, 0.88, 1.14). The 5ARI treatment resulted in a significantly higher incidence of decreased libido (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.36, 2.13), ejaculatory disorder (OR = 2.94; 95% CI, 2.15, 4.03), gynecomastia (OR = 2.32; 95% CI, 1.41, 3.83), and impotence (OR = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.32, 2.29). Our study has the following limitations: included studies were heterogeneous and direct comparison of efficacy between alpha blocker and 5ARI was not performed. Adverse events including depression or suicidal attempt could not be analyzed in this meta-analysis setting.CONCLUSIONS: Although there was a significant clinical benefit of 5ARI monotherapy compared with placebo, the effective size was small. Moreover, the risk of adverse events including sexually related complications were high. Additional head-to-head studies are needed to re-evaluate the clinical efficacy of 5ARI compared with alpha-adrenergic receptor blockers.

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