Tamsulosin is a safe and effective adjunctive treatment to shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) for renal and ureteral stones, a recent meta-analysis suggests.

The medication improves stone clearance rates, shortens expulsion time, and decreases pain intensity and analgesic requirements, according to researchers. Qiang Wei, MD, and colleagues at West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, analyzed data from 15 studies involving 1,326 subjects randomized to receive either tamsulosin or standard therapy with or without placebo following SWL. Pooled analysis showed that tamsulosin use increased the likelihood of stone clearance by 24% compared with controls, the investigators reported in the Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology (2010;44:425-432).

The researchers examined the effect of 0.2 and 0.4 mg tamsulosin and found that the 0.4 mg tamsulosin dose was associated with a significant 29% increased likelihood of stone clearance. The 0.2 mg dose did not have a significant effect on stone explusion.

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The investigators also analyzed the effect of tamsulosin according to stone location. Compared with controls, tamsulosin recipients were 38%, 83%, and 43% more likely to have clearance of renal, upper ureteral, and lower ureteral stones, respectively.