Tamsulosin belongs to a class of medications called alpha receptor blockers (or
alpha-adrenoceptor antagonists). It works by relaxing bladder neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate gland, making urination easier. The primary function of the prostate gland is nourishment and transport of semen during the reproductive age in men.
Uses of Tamsulosin
- To treat the symptoms due to enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia) - urinary retention (stagnation of urine that could not be passed out)
- To reduce the risk of surgery (removal of the prostate)
Contraindications of Tamsulosin
When should one not use Tamsulosin
- Do not take if you are allergic to Tamsulosin or any of its components or other alpha-blockers (e.g. Prazosin, Doxazosin, Terazosin)
- Who have a history of falling in blood pressure while standing up or (orthostatic hypertension), indicated by symptoms such as dizziness, feeling light-headed or fainting
- Who have severe liver disease
Side effects of Tamsulosin
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Fall in blood pressure (orthostatic hypertension-symptoms such as dizziness, feeling light-headed or fainting)
- Swelling and irritation of the nose, runny nose (rhinitis)
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Itching, hives & rashes
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Severe allergic reactions (rashes, blisters, and peeling of the skin, joint pains (Stevens-Johnsons syndrome) or skin swelling of face, below eyes and throat, causing breathing difficulty (angioedema))...
- Patients taking Tamsulosin are prone to a complication known as floppy iris syndrome (if they undergo cataract surgery that makes the operation difficult)
Precautions and Warnings of Tamsulosin
Can I take Tamsulosin during pregnancy?
Tamsulosin is not to be used by women.
Can I take Tamsulosin while breastfeeding?
Tamsulosin is not to be used by women.
Can I drive if I have consumed Tamsulosin?
Due to the risk of side effects like dizziness and light-headedness, caution is advised while driving if the patient is on Tamsulosin, and may be avoided. Driving for short distances is permissible in the absence of such symptoms.
Can I consume alcohol with Tamsulosin?
Too much intake of alcohol while taking this medicine has to be avoided as both Tamsulosin and alcohol have the potential to lower blood pressure level.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You feel dizziness or light-headedness
- You have kidney problems
- You have swelling of the face or throat, rashes and itching
- If you are planning a cataract eye procedure
- This medicine is mistakenly given to children or adolescents under 18 years.
Mode of Action of Tamsulosin
How Does It Work?
The main functions of alpha receptors (receptor is a protein that transmits signals) is to cause narrowing (constriction) of blood vessels and specific muscles when stimulated Tamsulosin acts by blocking the alpha receptors in the walls of the prostate gland. The urinary tube passes through the prostate gland and is compressed in prostate enlargement. By relaxing the prostate, the medicine allows easy passage of urine and thus reducing the chances of urinary infections....
Interactions of Tamsulosin
Interactions with other medicines
- Diclofenac (pain killer voveran)
- Medicines that reduce stomach acid (Cimetidine)
- Other medicines which may block alpha-receptors (Erythromycin, Ketoconazole, etc.)
- Medicines causing hypotension (low blood pressure), if given along with Tamsulosin:
- Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil
- Doxazosin, Prazosin, Alfuzosin
Interactions with food items
Taking Tamsulosin with food can reduce the risk or severity of side effects. Therefore, it is advised with or immediately after a meal.
Dietary Restrictions of Tamsulosin
Drink the right amount of water, if not plenty. Try to avoid coffee, cold drinks, soda and energy drinks.
Dosage of Tamsulosin
Overdosage of Tamsulosin may lower your blood pressure and cause unwanted symptoms. If you feel any dizziness or feel like fainting, inform your doctor immediately or seek medical attention.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose & do not take two doses together to compensate for the missed dose.
Dr. Ravi Kakarla
Dr. Ritu Budania
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking this medicine?
- You cannot take this drug if you are allergic to it or other drugs of the same group like Prazosin, Terazosin, Doxazosin, etc.
- Inform your physician:
- If you have severe kidney or liver disease
- If you have low blood pressure and heart disease
- If you are on a low salt diet
- If you are taking any water pill (Diuretic)
- If you have a personal or family history of prostate cancer
Q: Does Tamsulosin cure prostate enlargement?
A: Tamsulosin does not cause shrinkage of enlarged prostate gland or cure BPH. Tamsulosin provides symptomatic relief and prevents any complications that may be due to enlarged prostate.
Q: How long can I take Tamsulosin?
- Tamsulosin needs to be taken for long periods, usually years
- It is generally a safe medicine and is well tolerated in most patients
- However, it is advised to take this medicine as prescribed and not to self-medicate or self-adjust the dose
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