Author(s): Hall SA, Link CL, Hu JC, Eggers PW
OBJECTIVE: To examine, in a community-based sample, the use of prescription drugs for lower urinary tract symptoms/benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH), overactive bladder, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and painful bladder syndrome; and to determine whether the use of recommended medications varied by sociodemographics, symptom severity, access to care, and other factors.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: In a cross-sectional analysis of data obtained from 5503 men and women residents participating in the Boston Area Community Health Survey of Boston, MA, urological symptoms were ascertained by in-person interviews conducted during 2002-2005, using validated symptom scales. Medication use in the past 4 weeks was captured using a combination of drug-inventory methods and self-report.
RESULTS: Compared to the prevalence of symptoms, the prevalence of use of medications for urological conditions was very low among men and women. The highest prevalence of use was among men with moderate-to-severe LUTS/BPH symptoms, where 9.6% used recommended drugs. Use of medications did not vary consistently by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status, but was often associated with symptom severity. More frequent and more recent use of medical care was also associated with greater use of urological medications.
CONCLUSIONS: Only a small proportion of community-dwelling men and women with urological symptoms are receiving recommended effective drug treatments for urological conditions. While not all persons are candidates for drug treatment, our results suggest that there is a substantial unmet need in the general population.