Despite potential benefits, primary care clinicians may avoid using antimuscarinics in men with overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms because of safety concerns. To review the efficacy and safety of antimuscarinics, alone or in combination with an a-blocker, for the treatment of men with OAB symptoms, we conducted a systematic review of articles published before 22 July 2010, using PubMed. Data from 12-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of tolterodine extended release (ER), oxybutynin and solifenacin show that combined antimuscarinic + a-blocker treatment is generally more effective than monotherapy or placebo in men with OAB symptoms. The efficacy and safety of tolterodine ER + α-blocker treatment was not affected by prostate size or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. In men meeting entry criteria for OAB and benign prostatic obstruction trials, tolterodine ER alone was effective selectively in men with prostate size or PSA level below study medians. Incidence of acute urinary retention (AUR) in men receiving antimuscarinics with or without an α-blocker was ≤ 3% in all of these trials; changes in postvoid residual volume and maximum flow rate did not appear clinically meaningful. Post hoc analyses from double-blind, placebo-controlled trials and prospective studies of fesoterodine, oxybutynin, propiverine, solifenacin and tolterodine also suggest that antimuscarinics are generally safe and efficacious in men. A retrospective database study found that risk of AUR in men was the highest in the first month of treatment and decreased considerably thereafter. Antimuscarinics, alone or with an α-blocker, appear to be efficacious and safe in many men with predominant OAB symptoms or persistent OAB symptoms despite α-blocker or 5-α-reductase inhibitor treatment. However, antimuscarinics are not approved for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Monitoring men for AUR is recommended, especially those at increased risk, and particularly within 30 days after starting antimuscarinic treatment.
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