A Study of Prostane in the Treatment of Benign Prostatic...

[Phytotherapy Research (2001): (15), 411-415]
A Study of Prostane in the Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Lokesh Upadhyay and Tripathi, K.,
Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
[Correspondence to: Dr. Kala Suhas Kulkarni,
Medical Advisor, R&D Center, The Himalaya Drug Company, Makali, Bangalore, India]
A clinical trial was conducted in a study group of 70 males diagnosed with symptomatic
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) (synonym of benign prostatic hyperplasia). They were
administered Prostane, a herbal formulation, at a dose of 2 tablets a day for one year and
monitored every 4 months during the study period. Analysis of results showed improvement in
symptom score as per the American Urological Association symptom index rating. There was
total relief in pain and haematuria in all the patients (100%); dribbling of urine decreased in
67%, dysuria in 50%, urgency in 60% and hesitancy in 40%. Blood urea levels were within
normal range in 70% of the patients and in the range of 31-40 mg/dl in the remaining
patients of the study group. Serum prostate specific antigen levels returned to normal in 56%
of patients and were in the range of 4.1-5.0 ng/ml in 25% of patients. There was a decrease
in prostate specific antigen values which were >6 ng/ml in 9 patients at the commencement of
the trial. Uroflowmetry studies showed that the peak flow increased from 12.6 to 30.7 secs
(p<0.001) and the void volume from 60.72 to 660 ml (p<0.001), the latent period reduced
from 12.78 sec to 2.61 sec; the flow time from 57.01 sec to 20.17 sec and the residual volume
from 620 ml to 20 ml (p<0.001). From these results, it is evident that Prostane was effective
in alleviating symptoms, reducing prostate specific antigen values and normalising uroflow
dynamics in patients with Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy.
Keywords: Benign prostatic hypertrophy; prostatic hyperplasia; prostate specific antigen;
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is an ailment commonly encountered in aged males. It
is prevalent in 25% of those above 55 years of age. It usually reaches 50-73% by the age of
90 years. The standard line of therapy for BPH is surgery. However, the risk factor is high for
patients in this age group who undergo prostatectomy. Hence, the preferred line of treatment
is medical therapy. Advances in the medical field in the coming years are bound to result in
increased longevity and thereby the probable incidence of BPH will increase.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy is a proliferative process that involves both the stromal and
epithelial elements of the prostate (Bartsch et al., 1979; Shapiro et al., 1992). Its clinical
manifestations include obstructive and irritative urinary tract symptoms, urinary retention,
urinary tract infection and haematuria (Madsen and Bruskewitz, 1995). In most patients with
this disorder, the goal of therapy is to relieve the aggravating urinary symptoms (Mebust et
al., 1989). Malignant transformation has been found in 9.51% of patients with BPH and often
these changes are predicted by the presence of markers such as rise in the levels of prostate
specific antigen (PSA) and acid phosphatase (De-Biasi et al., 1996). A wide disparity exists
between obstructive symptoms and the size of the prostate. Since the advent of
ultrasonography, an increasing number of asymptomatic cases with non-specific symptoms
are now being diagnosed.
Recently, prostatectomy and watchful waiting were the only widely accepted options for
treatment of BPH. However, recent studies have reported that 5α-reductase inhibitors and
long acting α1-adrenergic antagonist drugs have been found effective in the treatment of this
disorder (De-Biasi et al., 1996; Gormley et al., 1992). These drugs though widely used to
treat BPH have many adverse effects. Considering the above limitations, herbal remedies
have come into the forefront of research to treat various disorders of the prostate (Palevitch et
al., 1993; Jain and Dave, 1987). S. repens with or without other phytotherapeutic agents
improves urinary tract symptoms by 28%, nocturia by 25%, peak urine flow by 24%, mean
urine flow by 28% and residual urine volume by 43% (Wilt et al., 1998).
In this perspective, the effect of Prostane, an herbal compound was analysed to evaluate its
safety and to ascertain its effect in the lowering of concentration of PSA and reducing other
obstructive symptoms of BPH.
Seventy men diagnosed with symptomatic BPH were selected for the study after a thorough
physical examination and complete history were noted. The study was conducted at the
Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (India). All the patients
were selected from the general medical outpatient department over a period of 6 months. The
majority of patients in this study were in their 50s or 60s (Table 1) with symptoms varying
from mild thinning of the urine stream to dysuria, urgency, hesitancy, pain in the loin and
groin, heaviness in the perineum, pain in the calf muscles, haematuria and fever (Table 2).
Patients with an episode of unstable angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, history of an
ischaemic attack or a cerebrovascular accident in the past 6 months, insulin-dependent
diabetes mellitus, severe hypertension or blood
Table 1: Distribution of age
pressure <90/70 mm Hg, carcinoma of the prostate,
No. of
urethral stricture, active urinary tract disease, prior Age group in
pelvic surgery likely to interfere with normal bladder
function and renal or hepatic impairment, were
excluded from the trial. Other exclusions were
unwillingness or inability to give informed consent or
intake of an experimental drug less than 4 weeks prior
to being screened.
Patients were assessed according to the American Urological Association Symptom Index,
which is a reliable indicator of symptoms characteristic of BPH. At each assessment, their
symptoms were scored on a scale from 0 (absent) to 5 (severe), the total score reflecting the
overall severity of the patient’s condition, ie. 1-7 (mild), 8-19 (moderate) and 20-35 (severe).
At each follow up visit, uroflowmetry was performed to measure the voided volume, residual
urinary volume and peak urinary flow rate and time. Eligibility for the study required a mean
symptom score of at least 8, a mean peak urinary flow rate of <15 ml/sec and >4 ml/sec with
a minimal voided volume of 125 ml and a mean residual volume after voiding of <300 ml.
The grading of hyperplasia was done by ultrasonography and serum mean residual volume
after voiding of <300 ml. The grading of hyperplasia was done by ultrasonography and serum
concentrations of PSA were measured. Ultrasonography evaluation was reported by the
Evaluation for any evidence of prostate cancer by X-ray, ultrasonography and C.T. scan was
also done. Other investigations were conducted for renal and liver functions along with
electrocardiogram, serum lipid profile, electrolytes, creatinine and urine analysis. The
glomerular filtration rate was also estimated. The patients were then administered the drug,
Prostane, to be taken at a dose of 2 tablets, twice a day. On completion of the12th, 24th, 36th
and 48th weeks of therapy, they were evaluated and the above investigations repeated.
This was an open clinical trial. All the patients received Prostane tablets. Each patient served
as his own control and the assessment of response was done before and after completion of
the stipulated therapy, i.e. 48 weeks.
Each tablet of Prostane contains the following: Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) 140 mg;
Putikaranja (Caesalpinia bonducella) 120 mg; Puga (Areca catechu) 100 mg; Shatavari
(Asparagus racemosus) 80 mg; Akik pisthi 80 mg and Vanga bhasma 80 mg.
These are standardized in the R&D Centre of The Himalaya Drug Company, Bangalore,
The analgesic, antibacterial and diuretic properties of Tribulus terrestris that are described in
Ayurveda have been found useful in treating genitourinary symptoms such as painful
micturition, dysuria, haematuria and prostatic enlargement. Caesalpinia bonducella has
diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties. Asparagus racemosus also has diuretic property
which is beneficial in treating nephropathy. Areca catechu is useful in urinary disorders. This
prompted us to evaluate the polyherbal formulation, Prostane, in prostatic enlargement.
Seventy patients were examined and assessed for inclusion in the trial. All of them completed
the treatment and made themselves available for follow-up examination. There were no
dropouts in the study. Hesitancy and urgency were symptoms dominant in 35 patients (50%),
dribbling of urine in 21 cases (30%), dysuria and calf muscle tenderness in 14 cases (20%)
and mild grade fever in 49 patients (70%). At the end of the trial, the subjective symptoms of
calf muscle tenderness, pain in the loin and groin during micturition and perineal heaviness
improved completely, ie. 100%, whereas 85.5% of patients in the study group showed
resolution of mild grade pyrexia. The symptoms of prostatism (urgency and hesitancy) were
corrected in 60% and 40% of the cases respectively and there was improvement in dysuria
and dribbling of urine in 50% and 40% respectively. Haematuria also resolved in all patients,
i.e. 100% (Table 2). Statistical analysis was done using Student’s paired ‘t’ test.
Table 3: Ultrasonography findings
at 48 weeks
Table 2: Improvement in Symptoms
Before therapy
After therapy
No. of
No. of
Dribbling of urine
of BPH
Before therapy
After therapy
Pain in loin and groin
Heaviness in perineum
Calf muscle tenderness
Mild grade fever
Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test performed to
assess the significant changes in hypertrophy
between the groups. p<0.0001
Table 5: Range of Prostate Specific Antigen
No. of patients
Range (ng/ml)
After therapy
(At 48 weeks)
4.1 – 5.0
5.1 – 6.0
Table 4: Blood Urea, Serum Creatinine and Glomerular
Filtration Rate Values
No. of patients
Blood Urea
filtration rate
After therapy
(At 48 weeks)
Total (n)
Mean S.E.
± 1.3429
± 1.1012
80% improvement in all the patients (Table
At the commencement of the study,
ultrasonographic findings confirmed
grade I BPH in 30% of the patients,
grade II BPH in 40% and grade III BPH
in 30% of the cases under study.
Hydronephrosis was present in 20% of
the cases. After completion of the
treatment, ultrasonography showed an
3). Patients with hydronephrosis showed 100%
Blood urea in all the patients at the commencement of the study ranged from 20-80 mg.
Patients with blood urea level on the higher side (41-60 and 61-80) showed 100%
improvement, while there was 50% improvement in serum creatinine and 80% improvement
in the glomerular filtration rate (Table 4).
When the study commenced, 20 patients (28%) had a PSA reading of <4.0 ng/ml, 15 patients
(21.42%) had a PSA level ranging from 4.1-5.0 ng/ml, 26 cases (37.14%) had PSA values of
5.1-6.0 ng/ml and 9 patients (12.85%) had high PSA values (>6 ng/ml) (Table 5). The mean
value was 3.824 ± 1.3429 ng/ml and after treatment, it was 2.6760 ng/ml, showing significant
reduction. A significant improvement was noticed in the peak flow rate, latent period, voided
volume and residual volume (Figs. 1-a & b). Residual volume improved by 62% and voided
volume by >85%. The peak flow and voided volume improved from 12.6 to 30.7 sec and
from 60.72 ml to 660 ml
Figure 1: Uroflowmetry studies: effect of obstructive indices.
respectively. The latent period (a) *p≤0.02, zp≤0.05, # p≤0.01 compared with initial value.
reduced from 12.78 to 2.61 sec, (b) zp≤0.05, #p≤0.01 compared with initial value.
the flow time from 57.01 to 20.17
sec and the residual volume was
only 20 ml compared with the
initial volume of 620 ml. As the
treatment was sustained over a
period of 48 weeks, there was a
gradual reduction in residual
volume of urine and was
negligible at 48 weeks. Similarly,
the quantity of voided urine
increased gradually showing the
sustained effect of Prostane. As
the residual volume of urine
decreased, it was reflected by
increase in the amount of voided
disappearance of residual volume,
the therapy may have had to be
continued beyond 48 weeks. No
regression analysis could be
carried out. The maximum
response was observed from 32
compliance was high as all the
patients completed the study.
None of them reported any side effects or adverse effects on administration of Prostane
Obstructive urinary symptoms are a common occurrence in the majority of males above 50
years of age, of whom 20-30% undergo prostatectomy (Chirikos and Sanford, 1996).
Advances in medical therapy for the management of BPH represent the long-awaited
development of a formulation to overcome these symptoms (Di-Silverio et al., 1995).
Currently-used drugs such as 5α-reductase inhibitors cause a decrease in libido and sexual
potency (Steiner, 1996), while α-adrenergic antagonist drugs can result in a host of untoward
ailments such as vertigo, fatigue, palpitation, headache, tachycardia, asthenia, nausea,
diarrhoea, nasal congestion and impotence on prolonged use (Chapple, 1996).
Herbal medicines have been used in the past for the effective management of several
incurable diseases. Throughout the world, research is in progress to find a remedy for BPH
that is safe and free from side-effects even on prolonged use (Carraro et al., 1996; Paubert et
al., 1996). An herbal compound, Prostane, manufactured by The Himalaya Drug Company,
Bangalore, India, contains extracts of various herbs that have different modes of action: Aloe
vera increases blood circulation, helps in the healing process of damaged tissues (Heggers et
al., 1993) and has anti-cancer properties (Jeong et al., 1994). Acacia nilotica is very effective
against gram-positive and gram-negative organisms (Abd El Nabi et al., 1992). Tribulus
terrestris possesses diuretic property. The diuretic, analgesic and antibacterial properties
found in Tribulus terrestris are utilised and found beneficial in treating the symptoms of
prostatic enlargement such as haematuria, painful micturition and dysuria (Singh et al., 1991;
Tomova, 1987). Asparagus racemosus has an immunomodulatory effect on the prostate
(Thatte et al., 1987). Areca catechu has antimicrobial properties (Iwamoto et al., 1991). It
was observed in this study that on account of its antispasmodic, diuretic, androgen blocking,
antibacterial and anticarcinogenic properties, Prostane displayed a multi-dimensional effect in
patients with BPH, especially in those with increased levels of PSA. The treatment with
Prostane decreased PSA levels; similar effects could be further studied in a randomised
controlled trial in patients of prostate cancer with raised PSA compared with that of placebo.
It was also perceived that Prostane alleviated the other symptoms of BPH and displayed a
significant improvement in urine flow dynamics. Ultrasound findings showed a significant
reduction in the prostate size. The symptomatic relief of dysuria and urgency of urine may be
due to the astringent action of Acacia catechu. Tribulus terristris has diuretic property which
potentiates the diuretic effect of other herbs. It is feasible to carry out a randomised controlled
double blind clinical trial of Prostane, a polyherbal formulation to ascertain its efficacy in
improving urologic symptoms and urinary flow measures. This approach would justify our
views that Prostane alleviates the obstructive urological symptoms of benign prostatic
Since this was an open clinical trial, the efficacy of Prostane was observed in terms of relief
of symptoms of prostatic hyperplasia. The results of uroflowmetry and ultrasonography
indicated improvement in the peak flow and flow time, reduction in the latent period and
residual volume of urine suggesting relief from obstructive urological symptoms. The
ultrasonography also indicated improvement in prostatic hypertrophy. The clinical effects
along with the results of the investigations are compared before and after completion of
therapy with Prostane. Since it is an open clinical trial, it has the limitations of expressing the
efficacy of Prostane which could be further confirmed by double-blind placebo controlled
clinical trial.
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