If you have an enlarged prostate and experience urinary problems, your doctor may prescribe the drug tamsulosin (Flomax). This drug helps to relieve urinary problems by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck. While tamsulosin is generally well tolerated, it can cause a number of side effects.
Side effects can vary from person to person, but the most coming are dizziness, lightheadedness, runny nose, and headache. These side effects are most likely to occur when you first start taking tamsulosin or if your dose is increased. Most of these side effects will go away as your body adjusts to the medication.
Long-term side effects are rare but can include decreased libido and other sexual problems. If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor.
So what is there to know about Tamsulosin? Read on to find out more.
What Is Tamsulosin?
Tamsulosin is a type of medication prescribed to treat urinary retention issues, benign prostatic hyperplasia (essentially enlarged prostates), and – in some cases – kidney stones. It is generally consumed in the form of oral capsules but is also available in tablet form.
Pharmacologically, Tamsulosin is a beta-blocker, meaning that it accomplishes its tasks by blocking the action of specific chemical messengers – called neurotransmitters – in the body, specifically those that lead to an increase in prostate gland size. What this ultimately achieves is the relaxation of the muscles in your prostate and bladder, which in turn helps to open up your urethra so that you can empty your bladder more easily.
What Are The Side Effects Of Tamsulosin?
While Tamsulosin is generally considered safe, there are some side effects you may experience when using this medication. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but should you find that you are experiencing any more serious side effects, it is crucial that you speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
On the milder side, Tamsulosin may cause sleepiness, back pain, weakness, diarrhea, a runny or stuffy nose, pain in your face, a sore throat, a fever, chills, blurred vision, and difficulty ejaculating. These are usually not particularly intense, but if you find that they are, that is also a sign that you should call your doctor right away.
More serious side effects that should immediately be reported to your doctor include painful, multi-hour erections, rashes, itching, hives, and swelling of any body parts. Again, if you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist – they may worsen and could be indicative of some underlying issue like an undiagnosed condition or a conflict between your medications. Your healthcare professionals will help you determine whether the medication is really responsible for the problem, and if so, how best to go about resolving it.
Needless to say, it is absolutely crucial that you take Tamsulosin only as prescribed by your doctor and follow all other instructions related to its use carefully. Self-dosing is dangerous and can cause permanent, irreversible damage under the right conditions.
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Tamsulosin?
Studies have shown that long term use of Tamsulosin results in a significant improvement in maximum urine flow and prostate health for upwards of four years after treatment began, with only about a quarter of people consuming the drug for several years experiencing any side effects suspected to be possibly or probably drug-related.
It is worth noting that about 5% of patients tend to experience drug-related side effects so severe that they have to switch off of Tamsulosin and use a different medication instead.
What Happens When You Stop Taking Tamsulosin?
While sudden stoppage of Tamsulosin doesn’t necessarily result in any detrimental side effects, but even so, it’s important to consult with your doctor both before you stop using it and before you begin using it again – do not simply start taking your medicine again without first attending a meeting with a medical professional.
It should go without saying that stopping Tamsulosin will also interrupt your treatment, and you will find that your symptoms are going to be returning fairly quickly. Depending on the state of your particular condition, this could be accompanied by further complications as well.
All in all, Tamsulosin is an effective prescription medication with a low incidence of side effects and the support of studies that suggest a positive 4-year outlook for patients suffering from urinary blockage or benign prostatic hyperplasia. When side effects do occur, they tend to be minor in nature and intensity, and responsible use of the medication should prove to provide adequately positive outcomes for 95% of patients.
If you struggle with urinary retention and/or benign prostatic hyperplasia, call your local clinic and schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether Tamsulosin is a viable treatment option.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.