Friday, March 7, 2014

About Flomax

About Flomax

Flomax is a prescription medication used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. BPH is a common condition in older men; it is also known as prostate enlargement. Although enlargement of the prostate is a benign condition, it may eventually lead to prostate cancer. Flomax is prescribed in small, easily-swallowed capsules containing 0.4 mg of the active ingredient, tamsulosin hydrochloride.


Flomax does not treat the underlying condition of BPH, but it does improve the symptoms for most men who take it. As the name indicates, Flomax helps with difficulty urinating; this is one of the most common symptoms of BPH. Flomax works by relaxing the muscles in and around the prostate and urinary tract. Although it is only approved for use in BPH, it is also occasionally prescribed to treat other urinary problems such as certain spinal cord injuries and neurogenic bladder leakage.

Time Frame

Flomax is taken once daily, at around the same time each day. It may be taken with or without food. Improvement is usually noticeable 4 to 8 hours after the first dose, but it may take up to 5 days for full effect. Flomax is a long-term treatment; it may be taken for as long as needed. In most cases, Flomax is taken for life unless the prostate is removed as a treatment for another condition, such as cancer of the prostate.


Flomax should not be taken by anyone who has shown symptoms of an allergy to this medication or similar medications in the past. It should be used with caution by people who have orthostatic hypotension (feeling dizzy or fainting when standing up). Flomax should not be taken with cimetidine; this may cause too much Flomax to remain in the bloodstream, increasing the risk of side effects. Flomax may also cause drug interactions when taken with warfarin, doxazosin, phentolamine, prazosin or terazosin. Adequate studies of Flomax during pregnancy and breastfeeding have not been done because the drug is only FDA approved to treat men with BPH. If you are a woman taking Flomax for an off-label indication, ask your doctor for advice on whether the drug should be discontinued if you become pregnant.


Like any medication, Flomax may have effects other than improving the condition it treats. The most common side effects are dizziness, headache, weakness, diarrhea, back pain and abnormal ejaculation. Occasionally, taking Flomax may cause chest pain, orthostatic hypotension, nausea, insomnia or decreased sex drive. In rare cases, Flomax can cause blurry vision, sleepiness or priapism (an erection that lasts too long).


Prostate cancer sometimes mimics the symptoms of BPH. Taking Flomax with undiagnosed prostate cancer may mask the symptoms and reduce the chances of successful treatment. In rare cases, Flomax has caused priapism. Call your doctor if you experience an erection that lasts more than four hours; immediate treatment is essential to avoid permanent damage to the penis. Ask your doctor if you should stop taking Flomax before having cataract surgery; the medication may make the surgery more difficult, increasing the risk of complications.

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