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Original Investigation
January 13, 2020

Effectiveness of Combined Behavioral and Drug Therapy for Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Men: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham
  • 2Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Department of Veterans Affairs, Birmingham, Alabama
  • 3Department of Urology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio
  • 4Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Department of Veterans Affairs, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 5Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 6Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham
  • 7School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham
  • 8Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham
JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6398
Key Points

Question  What is the effectiveness of combining behavioral and drug therapy compared with each therapy alone for overactive bladder symptoms in men, and what is the best sequence for combining therapies?

Findings  In this 2-stage, multisite randomized clinical trial including 204 men with overactive bladder symptoms, reductions in voiding frequency were significantly greater in those receiving combined therapy compared with those receiving drug therapy alone but not compared with those receiving behavioral therapy alone and greater in those receiving behavioral therapy alone compared with those receiving drug therapy alone. After all groups received combined therapy, outcomes tended to be better for those initially receiving combined therapy, but there were no significant group differences.

Meaning  When using a stepped approach to combined therapy, it is reasonable to begin with behavioral therapy.

Abstract

Importance  First-line behavioral and drug therapies for overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms in men are effective but not usually curative.

Objective  To determine whether combining behavioral and drug therapies improves outcomes compared with each therapy alone for OAB in men and to compare 3 sequences for implementing combined therapy.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this 3-site, 2-stage, 3-arm randomized clinical trial, participants were randomized to 6 weeks of behavioral therapy alone, drug therapy alone, or combined therapy followed by step-up to 6 weeks of combined therapy for all groups. Participants were recruited from 3 outpatient clinics and included community-dwelling men 40 years or older with urinary urgency and 9 or more voids per 24 hours. Data were collected from July 2010 to July 2015 and analyzed from April 2016 to September 2019.

Interventions  Behavioral therapy consisted of pelvic floor muscle training with urge suppression strategies and delayed voiding. Drug therapy included an antimuscarinic (sustained-release tolterodine, 4 mg) plus an α-blocker (tamsulosin, 0.4 mg).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Seven-day bladder diaries completed before and after each 6-week treatment stage were used to calculate reduction in frequency of urination (primary outcome) and other symptoms (ie, urgency, urgency incontinence, and nocturia). Other secondary outcomes included validated patient global ratings of improvement and satisfaction, Overactive Bladder Questionnaire score, and International Prostate Symptom Score.

Results  Of the 204 included men, 133 (65.2%) were white, and the mean (SD) age was 64.1 (11.1) years. A total of 21 men discontinued treatment and 183 completed treatment. Mean (SD) voids per 24 hours decreased significantly in all 3 groups from baseline to 6-week follow-up (behavioral therapy: 11.7 [2.4] vs 8.8 [2.1]; change, 2.9 [2.4]; percentage change, 24.7%; P < .001; drug therapy: 11.8 [2.5] vs 10.3 [2.7]; change, 1.5 [2.3]; percentage change, 12.7%; P < .001; combined therapy: 11.8 [2.4] vs 8.2 [2.3]; change, 3.6 [2.1]; percentage change, 30.5%; P < .001). Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that posttreatment mean (SD) voiding frequencies were significantly lower in those receiving combined therapy compared with drug therapy alone (8.2 [2.3] vs 10.3 [2.7]; P < .001) but not significantly lower compared with those receiving behavioral therapy alone (8.2 [2.3] vs 8.8 [2.1]; P = .19) and were lower for behavioral therapy alone compared with drug therapy alone (8.8 [2.1] vs 10.3 [2.7]; P < .001). At 12-week follow-up, after all groups had received combined therapy, improvements in mean (SD) voids per 24 hours were also greatest for those receiving initial combined therapy compared with baseline (behavioral therapy: 11.7 [2.4] vs 8.0 [2.2]; change, 3.7 [2.3]; percentage change, 31.6%; P < .001; drug therapy: 11.8 [2.5] vs 8.6 [2.3]; change, 3.2 [2.5]; percentage change, 27.1%; P < .001; combined therapy: 11.8 [2.4] vs 8.0 [2.2]; change, 3.8 [2.1]; percentage change, 32.2%; P < .001), but there were no statistically significant group differences on primary or secondary measures.

Conclusions and Relevance  Combining behavioral and drug therapy yields greater improvements in OAB symptoms than drug therapy alone but not behavioral therapy alone. When using a stepped approach, it is reasonable to begin with behavioral therapy alone.

Trial Registration  ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01175382

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