Phytotherapy adds to the therapeutic armamentarium for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lower urinary tract symptoms in men

Paolo Fornara, Stephan Madersbacher, Winfried Vahlensieck, Franz Bracher, Imre Romics, Paul Kil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background: Practice guidelines hardly recommend herbal extracts for male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). However, many patients are unsatisfied with first-line synthetic drugs and often prefer herbal medicines because of good tolerability. To improve the decision-making process, which should consider the patients' expectations, it is crucial to reflect on the role of phytotherapy in the treatment of LUTS. We (panel experts) reflected on current guideline recommendations and real practice across various European countries and debated the potential role of plant extracts with a focus on pumpkin seed soft extract investigated over 12 months in two randomised placebo-controlled trials. Summary: Most guidelines give no clear recommendations on phytotherapy due to the heterogeneity of clinically investigated extracts. Nevertheless, plant extracts are prescribed to patients with mild-to-moderate LUTS. Also, self-medicating patients often handle their complaints with herbal products. Many patients aim to avoid synthetic drugs for fear of sexual functional side effects and a negative impact on their quality of life. For the elderly, vasoactive comedications might become an issue. When taking plant extracts, patients experience an acceptable symptomatic relief similar to that achieved with synthetics but without side effects. Key Messages: In shared decision-making for purely symptomatic treatment, a low risk of side effects takes priority. We propose to consider patient preferences in the treatment of mild-to-moderate LUTS in men with a low risk of disease progression. We found a consensus that pumpkin seed soft extract adds to the therapeutic armamentarium for patients who cannot or do not want to apply synthetic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUrologia Internationalis
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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