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How effective are alpha-blocker drugs in treating BPH?

The four main alpha-blocker drugs used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) today have been evaluated in several placebo-controlled studies. About 70 to 80% of men who try alpha-blockers have a satisfactory response. Most doctors start men out with alpha-blockers instead of other treatments because there is a better chance a patient will respond to them, and to respond more quickly.

When a patient's symptoms are evaluated after treatment with an alpha-blocker, the results show that the drugs all have very similar effectiveness. About a 25% to 35% improvement in symptom score and a 15% to 25% improvement in peak urinary flow rate are generally seen in patients.

Studies have shown that the effectiveness of an alpha-blocker is maintained for at least three years, and there does not appear to be any increase in side effects. However, further long-term research is needed.

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