More than half of all men over age 60 suffer from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate called BPH. Now two drugs may be better than one when it comes to treating this condition.
Seven years ago, retired marine Jim Haskell heard about a study that changed his life. "I hardly knew what a prostate was, except I had one and it causes problems in men," he says. "After listening to this periodically, I said, 'Gee, that sounds like me in some respects.'"
Urologists diagnosed Haskell with an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
"BPH, the disease, causes lower urinary tract symptoms, and those symptoms are frequent urination, nighttime urination, difficulty starting the stream, interrupting the stream, incomplete emptying of the bladder, etc," says urologist Claus G. Roehrborn, M.D., of UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Researchers tested a combination of two drugs -- Proscar and Cardura -- to help the condition. Dr. Roehrborn says, "Towards the end of the study, [Haskell's] prostate had shrunk from 60 to about 40 cubic centimeters, and with that, comes a considerable alleviation of his symptoms."
Like Haskell, 67 percent of more than 3,000 men in the five-year study were helped by the combination therapy.
"Would I be happy to stay the way I am, until I am planted? Yes, I would be tickled pink," Haskell says.
Researchers believe this therapy is a long-term treatment and could help many men avoid surgery.
Dr. Roehrborn says a few men did experience side effects but none were dangerous, and they went away after the patient stopped taking the drugs. Recent studies also show one of the drugs, Proscar, also known as finasteride, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in some men.
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