Alpha blocker therapy for children with dysfunctional voiding and urinary retention

Mark P. Cain, Simon D. Wu, Paul F. Austin, C. D.Anthony Herndon, Richard C. Rink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: Alpha blocker therapy has been successfully used to decrease residual urine in children with complex neuropathic and nonneuropathic voiding dysfunction. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of using selective alpha blocker therapy for children with uncomplicated voiding dysfunction and underlying poor bladder emptying. Materials and Methods: A total of 55 patients with a mean age of 7.9 years presented with symptoms of urinary incontinence, urgency and urinary tract infection. All patients had increased post-void residual (PVR) on bladder ultrasound, with a mean residual volume of 65 ml (22% of age expected capacity). All patients were treated with doxazosin, a selective α-1 adrenergic antagonist, at dosages of 0.5 mg to 2.0 mg daily. Of the patients 38 were treated at presentation with a regimen of anticholinergics, timed voiding and antibiotic prophylaxis before initiating alpha blocker therapy. Patients were reevaluated with post-void ultrasound of the bladder 6 weeks after initiating alpha blocker therapy. Results: After starting doxazosin average PVR decreased to 8 ml (p <0.0001), representing an 88% reduction in residual urine (or reduction to only 2.7% of age expected bladder capacity). Medication was discontinued in 2 patients due to minor side effects. Conclusions: Selective alpha blocker therapy appears to be effective for improving bladder emptying in children with an overactive bladder, wetting, recurrent infection and increased PVR urine. This therapy may be used as either a replacement or in addition to biofeedback in patients with urinary retention. Further investigation, including a prospective randomized trial of alpha blocker therapy in children with urinary tract dysfunction, is warranted based on the findings of our study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1514-1517
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4 II
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Adrenergic alpha-antagonists
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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    Cain, M. P., Wu, S. D., Austin, P. F., Herndon, C. D. A., & Rink, R. C. (2003). Alpha blocker therapy for children with dysfunctional voiding and urinary retention. Journal of Urology, 170(4 II), 1514-1517.