Efficacy and Safety of Alpha-Blockers for Kidney Stones in Adults

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Objective: To review the literature for α-blocker treatment of kidney stones. Data Sources: PubMed search performed November 15, 2017, using the following search terms: alpha-blocker, alfuzosin, silodosin, or tamsulosin AND kidney or ureteral stones. Additional studies found through references of primary and tertiary literature. Inclusion criteria included English language, randomized controlled trials (not included in meta-analyses), and meta-analyses evaluating US available alpha-blockers as medical expulsive therapy with or without lithotripsy in adults with renal or ureteral stones, and no date limits. Study Selection and Data Extraction: Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 1 case-control trial, and 6 meta-analyses were found and included in this review. Two RCTs and 4 meta-analyses evaluated alpha-blockers without lithotripsy. Five RCTs, 1 case-control trial, and 2 meta-analyses evaluated their use post-lithotripsy. The primary endpoint was stone clearance rate in most studies. Data Synthesis: For ureteral stones ≤10 mm treated without lithotripsy, alpha-blockers increased clearance in all meta-analyses and one RCT versus control. For ureteral or renal stones treated with lithotripsy, 4 RCTs and all meta-analyses found benefit with alpha-blockers compared with control. When results were stratified by stone size, alpha-blockers performed better for stones 10 to 20 mm, while there was no difference for stones <10 mm. Conclusion: Alpha-blockers are beneficial without lithotripsy for ureteral stones 5 to 10 mm. They are beneficial post-lithotripsy for renal or ureteral stones >10 mm. They can be considered post-lithotripsy for stones 5 to 10 mm, but little benefit may be seen. Although all uroselective alpha-blockers have been found to be effective, most data are with tamsulosin 0.4 mg daily.

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