New relief for kidney stone sufferers

Millions of Australians suffering from kidney stones could soon get relief, with researchers discovering a prostrate treatment can also help ease the painful condition.

Patients with kidney stones were treated with the drug Tamsulosin in an Emergency Medicine Foundation-funded clinical trial run across five Queensland hospital emergency departments.

Trial leader and specialist emergency medicine physician at Townsville Hospital, Dr Jeremy Furyk, said Tamsulosin was normally used to treat an enlarged prostate, but the research team found the treatment could also assist the passage of large kidney stones in the urine.

“Kidney stones are a bit of a mystery, occur frequently in the community and generally affect young, healthy adults,” Dr Furyk said.

“It can be extremely painful to pass these jagged little crystallized minerals and it’s very common for sufferers to go to an emergency department for treatment.

“Of more than 400 patients in the trial, we found those who received Tamsulosin passed their large kidney stones more often than the placebo group.

“This means patients with large stones might not need more complicated treatments including surgeries, and this has potential to improve care and reduce costs. We’re very excited because Tamsulosin treatment may also allow patients to be treated closer to home rather than needing referral to a major centre.”

EMF awarded more than $270,000 to support Dr Furyk’s research, through its Queensland Research Program, which is funded by the Queensland Government.

EMF Chair, Associate Professor Sally McCarthy said this research had the potential to help millions of Australians suffering with this extremely painful condition.

“It may also have implications for patients living in rural parts of Australia, where access to urologists – the specialist doctors who treat this condition – can be limited.

“EMF also funds a Rural and Remote Research program as part of our commitment to ensuring all Australians have access to the best emergency medicine care.”

Up to 15 per cent of the Australian adult population suffer from kidney stones, which range in size from a grain of sand to a pearl or even larger, and can be excruciating to pass through the urinary tract.

Dr Furyk’s research was recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine

Australian Financial Review story

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Pictured: Dr Jeremy Furyk


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