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Experimental treatment offers relief from painful prostate condition

New findings show that treatment with a specific alpha blocker helps reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).

The alpha-blocker, known as silodosin, works by selectively relaxing the muscles in the bladder neck and prostate. The treatment is already approved in Canada, the United States, the EU and Japan to treat painful symptoms of another prostate gland condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly referred to as an enlarged prostate.

Despite being the most common form of prostatitis, CP/CPPS is the most misunderstood and difficult to treat because the symptoms are very similar to other conditions and requires a significant degree of testing and screening to identify.

"Antibiotics are commonly used as a treatment, but are not typically effective, probably because CP/CPPS does not seem to be caused by a bacterial infection," explains lead researcher Curtis Nickel, a professor in the Department of Urology, practicing urologist at Kingston General Hospital, and Canada Research Chair in Urologic Pain and Inflammation.

CP/CPPS is a debilitating condition characterized by persistent discomfort in the lower pelvic area including the bladder area, testicles, and penis. Symptoms can be severe and include painful and frequent urination and difficult or painful ejaculation. The cause of the condition is unknown.

In Dr. Nickel's study, approximately 60 per cent of men reported feeling better after treatment with silodosin versus 30 per cent of participants who were given a placebo. The number of patients who reported feeling better is higher than in a similar study he ran several years ago that tested the effects of a different alpha blocker.

Dr. Nickel, along with his Prostatitis Research Group at Kingston General Hospital and Queen's University, has been studying CP/CPPS for the past two decades. He has been the principal investigator of over a dozen international clinical trials evaluating therapies for chronic prostatitis. His research studies are supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, US National Institutes of Health and industry, including Watson Pharmaceuticals who provided the support for this particular clinical trial.

Dr. Nickel presented his results at today's American Urological Association annual meeting in Washington DC. The study results will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Urology.

Christina Archibald | EurekAlert!
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