Objective: To assess the epidemiology and treatment of storage symptoms suggestive of overactive bladder (OAB) and voiding symptoms suggestive of bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) because of benign prostatic hyperplasia in UK general practice.
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective analysis of data collected between 2000 and 2006 and entered in The Health Improvement Network general practice database, containing medical records for > 1 million men (aged ≥ 18 years) in the UK. Using Read codes, we analysed the prevalence of storage and voiding lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) as well as prescribing trends for 5α-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) and α-blockers for LUTS secondary to BOO and antimuscarinics for OAB.
Results: In 2006, the prevalence of diagnosed LUTS/OAB was only 0.3% and the recorded prevalence of LUTS/BOO was only 2.2%. Treatment rates also remained low throughout the study period. In the 12 months before 1 January 2006, only 25% of men diagnosed with OAB and 6–7% of men with storage LUTS received antimuscarinics, whereas 36% of men with a record of LUTS/BOO received α-blockers and/or 5ARIs. α-Blockers were prescribed to approximately 10% of men diagnosed with OAB or storage LUTS who did not have any recorded BOO diagnosis or symptoms.
Conclusion: Diagnosis of both storage and voiding LUTS occurs at much lower rates than indicated by prevalence estimates. Despite the availability of effective prescription therapies, many men with storage and/or voiding LUTS may not be receiving appropriate treatment in UK general practice.