Tamsulosin Could Help Passage of Larger Kidney Stones

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Tamsulosin Could Help Passage of Larger Kidney Stones
Tamsulosin Could Help Passage of Larger Kidney Stones

(HealthDay News) -- Tamsulosin can boost the passage of large kidney stones, but not small ones, according to a study published online July 17 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The study was led by Jeremy Furyk, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., of Townsville Hospital in Australia. His team found that 28 days after visiting an emergency department for any size of kidney stone, 87 percent of patients treated with tamsulosin and 81.9 percent of those treated with a placebo passed their kidney stones. The difference of 5 percent was not significant (95 percent confidence interval, −3.0 to 13.0 percent).

However, among patients with large stones -- between 5 and 10 mm long -- 83.3 percent of patients who took tamsulosin passed stones, compared with 61 percent of those who received placebo, a difference of 22 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 3.1 to 41.6 percent); number needed to treat of 4.5. The researchers noted no difference in urologic interventions, time to self-reported stone passage, pain, or analgesia requirements. Adverse events did not differ between groups and were found to be generally mild.

"The news on small kidney stones isn't positive, but tamsulosin appears to offer benefit to those unlucky people whose kidney stones are really big," Furyk said in a journal news release. And, "for patients with small kidney stones, time seems to be the one sure cure," he said. "However, when treating patients with large kidney stones, emergency physicians should definitely consider tamsulosin."

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