Tamsulosin is a drug prescribed to relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It works by relaxing the muscles of the prostate and bladder. However, it cannot cure or shrink an enlarged prostate. Tamsulosin comes in capsule form and should be taken at the same time each day. Potential side effects include abnormal ejaculation, a runny or stuffy nose, and dizziness.
What Is Tamsulosin?Tamsulosin hydrochloride (Flomax®) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed as treatment for an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate is also known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH.
Who Makes It?
Brand-name Flomax is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does Tamsulosin Work?Tamsulosin is part of a class of drugs known as alpha blockers. It works by blocking alpha-1 receptors. Alpha-1 receptors are found in several places in the body, including the prostate gland.
For the treatment of BPH, blocking alpha-1 receptors helps to relax the muscles of the prostate and the bladder neck (where urine leaves the bladder). Tamsulosin does not shrink the prostate, as some other BPH medications do. However, by relaxing the muscles of the prostate and bladder, it helps to quickly relieve BPH symptoms. While the medication can help with symptoms, it is not a cure for BPH.
Effects of TamsulosinSeveral studies have looked at how well tamsulosin treats enlarged prostate symptoms.
Symptoms of BPH
In studies of tamsulosin for BPH treatment, men were asked to rate the following symptoms of BPH:
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Frequent urination
- Intermittent stops and starts in the urine flow
- Feeling of urgency when needing to urinate
- Weak urine stream
- Having to get up to urinate frequently during the night.
The men who took tamsulosin had significant improvement in their BPH symptoms, compared with the men who did not take it. This improvement was usually seen within the first week and lasted throughout the study period (13 weeks).