Current benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment: impact on sexual function and management of related sexual adverse events


  • Disclosures In June 2010, GlaxoSmithKline convened an expert panel of physicians to discuss topics related to current medical therapies for BPH/LUTS and related sexual adverse effects and to develop this manuscript. GlaxoSmithKline contributed to the meeting agenda, although the expert panel retained final control of both the agenda and presentations. All participants agreed to author, with support from a medical writer funded by GlaxoSmithKline.

Prof. Vincenzo Mirone,
Urologic Clinic, University Federico II of Naples, Via S. Pansini, 5-80132 Naples, Italy
Tel.: +39 0817462504
Fax: +39 0815452959


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common disease in older men that can lead to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Male sexual dysfunction is also an age-related condition. Epidemiological studies have confirmed an association between BPH/LUTS and sexual dysfunction in ageing men that is independent of the effects of age, other co-morbidities and lifestyle factors. Proposed pathophysiological mechanisms for BPH/LUTS-associated sexual dysfunction include the nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate (NO/cGMP) pathway, rho-kinase and endothelin-1 activity, autonomic nervous system overactivity and the metabolic syndrome, and pelvic organ atherosclerosis. Both BPH/LUTS and sexual dysfunction can have a substantial negative impact on a man’s quality of life. However, urologists and primary care physicians appear to under-recognise sexual dysfunction in men with BPH/LUTS. Current guidelines recommend alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, either alone or in combination, among appropriate medical treatment options for BPH/LUTS. Randomised, controlled trials demonstrate that these therapies can be associated with sexual adverse effects (AEs) such as loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory disorders. Sexual dysfunction should be fully evaluated in men requiring treatment for BPH/LUTS using validated questionnaires. Management of sexual dysfunction in men treated for BPH/LUTS should involve assessment of co-morbidities and concomitant medications, consideration of lifestyle interventions such as weight loss and increased physical activity to improve risk factors and, if necessary, introduction of pharmacotherapies. In addition, physicians should provide patients with proper counselling on the possible sexual AEs of medical therapies for BPH/LUTS and their impact on sexual satisfaction, while being aware of the possibility that counselling in itself is likely to influence reported rates of sexual dysfunction.