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Functional urology in the BJUI

Although urological oncology is by far our largest section, it has increasingly become evident to us that the most cited part of the BJUI is functional urology. While this may come as a surprise, it is a reflection of the high quality of submissions that appear in this section. For your reading pleasure here are three “functional” articles in this issue worthy of attention. The paper from David Ginsberg also appears on the web journal as an article of the week.

In the first of our functional urology articles this month, Sjostrom et al. once again confirm the value of PFMT for the treatment of questionnaire and interview diagnosed SUI. Further, they show that an Internet-based program, which is more detailed and requires more contact (see Table 2 in the article), is more effective than a postal-based program in this regard after 3 months of usage (follow up at 4 months). What does more effective mean? For the ICIQ-UI SF scores, minimal difference in mean score is seen in the group scoring 1–5 (slight) and 6–12 (moderate) at baseline, a difference of 8.1 to 11 seen in the group scoring 13–21 (severe and very severe) at baseline (Figure 2). I like the PGI-I as a subjective patient global assessment. The largest difference was in the “very much better” group with minimal differences elsewhere (Figure 3). It would be interesting to know whether the larger difference occurred primarily in the severe and very severe groups as well. My take away is that PFMT is effective for SUI management. One can quibble about the lack of a physical exam here, but I suspect there would have been little difference. The real question is how best to apply this concept, keeping in mind the balance between results and efficient use of healthcare resources. My hypothesis would be that of the 3 methods of post, Internet and face-to-face therapy, there would be a preferred grouping based on the level of incontinence severity and education with the confounding factors of ages, socioeconomic class and desire for treatment, the latter associated with QOL impairment. A follow up at 6 and 12 months after treatment cessation would be helpful, and I am sure this is planned by the authors.

The article by Volpe et al. shows that the same indications can be used for recommending outlet reduction via TURP in the post renal transplant as in the general population. The only issue not specified was whether the pre-TUR serum creatinine in the 5/32 patients requiring catheterization (measured before catheterization), was higher than the others and, if so, may have skewed the group results. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that renal transplant patients have the same LUT issues as “normals” and, for these fragile men it may be especially important to be cognizant of LUT obstruction as a potential adverse but correctible factor for decreased renal function.

Regarding the article by Ginsberg et al. on the differences in efficacy and tolerability between 8 mg of fesoterodine, 4 mg of ER tolterodine and placebo in patients with OAB, the authors are to be commended, in my opinion, for publishing this article, which is bound to generate much controversy among those who carefully read it. It is true that this is probably the first large study to compare antimuscarinic efficacy separately in women and men. The article begins by pointing out the pharmacokinetic issues with the drug that the sponsor previously promoted as the gold standard of antimuscarinic therapy. It does show that the higher (double) dose of active agent produces a ‘better” efficacy result albeit with an increase in dry mouth frequency but not in other adverse events. A useful result of the article is to make one consider the questions of what constitutes a clinically significant result as opposed to a statistically significant one and what the mechanism is of the profound placebo effect, especially with reference to the objective parameters recorded (Fig 2). Almost 50% of women and 60% of men become diary dry on placebo. It would also be interesting to reconcile the greater (but not large) differences between the subjective or QOL measures and the objective ones. As a take home, if both drugs were similarly priced, or available through health care benefits, the choice would be obvious. If not, what would the difference be worth?

Alan J. Wein, MD, FACS, PhD(hon)
Associate Editor – Functional Urology
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA


Original publication of this editorial can be found at: doi: 10.1111/bju.12326BJUI 2013; 112: 277. 

2 replies
  1. Prokar Dasgupta
    Prokar Dasgupta says:

    Jo Wixon, our publisher, surprised us when she presented data at an editorial board meeting showing that Functional Urology was the most cited section of the BJUI. This is despite it being much smaller a section than Urological Oncology. Functional studies in general attract less grant funding than cancer but the ones that do are of the highest quality and make their way into the BJUI. We hope you enjoy this selection.

    • Alan Wein
      Alan Wein says:

      Excellent. I think one of the reasons it is popular it is because it represents the bulk of what most practicing urologists actually do.

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