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Tamsulosin Enhances Passage of Stones in the Lower Ureter

Alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonist found to be nearly three time better than placebo

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonist tamsulosin is nearly three times more effective than placebo at enhancing the spontaneous passage of lower ureteral stones, according to a study reported in the January issue of Urology.

Abdulla Al-Ansari, M.D., of the Hamad General Hospital in Doha, Qatar, and colleagues randomized 100 patients with stones 10 mm or smaller in the distal part of the ureter for treatment with 0.4 mg tamsulosin daily or placebo. Except for four patients in the placebo group lost to follow-up, the subjects were tracked for four weeks or passage of the stone, whichever occurred first. The researchers recorded the number of pain episodes, use of analgesics, stone expulsion rate and time, and medication side effects.

The researchers found that 41 of 50 subjects (82 percent) in the tamsulosin group and 28 of 46 patients (61 percent) in the placebo group passed their stones during the study period, with the tamsulosin group nearly three times more likely to pass the stone than the placebo group (relative risk, 2.93). Also, the expulsion time was shorter in the tamsulosin group than placebo group (6.4 versus 9.87 days), and pain and analgesic use was less in the tamsulosin group.

"In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, we have demonstrated that tamsulosin is a safe and effective drug that can be used to enhance spontaneous passage of distal ureteral stones sized 10 mm or smaller when measured by the largest diameter," the authors write.

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