Objectives: We tried to outline the management of LUTS suggestive of BPO in real life practice in France. In addition, preliminary results regarding switch rates of different initial treatment approaches in primary care are given in order to assess the effectiveness of therapies. Methods: IMS and GERS market data of drugs for LUTS suggestive of BPO in France are presented. In addition, data from the THALES database for 1997 and 1998 containing the patient medical records of 620 French GPs were analysed with special emphasis on the initial management by GPs and switch rate to another treatment option. Results: The prevalence and incidence of LUTS suggestive of BPO is high and more than half of the French LUTS patients receive a medical treatment from their GP. α1-Adrenoceptor antagonists are prescribed most in the management of LUTS suggestive of BPO in France and their use is still increasing. Finasteride is prescribed much less whereas the use of phytotherapy is, although decreasing, still rather high. The switch rate of tamsulosin as initial treatment to another treatment option is low (14.4%), compared to other therapies like terazosin (26.5%), reflecting its favourable benefit/risk ratio in real life practice. Conclusions: In France, the prescription rate of α1-adrenoceptor antagonists, and especially tamsulosin, is high and still growing. Further information is however needed to study the impact of initial treatment choice on the progression of LUTS suggestive of BPO.

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