Alpha Blockers Types, Benefits, and Side Effects

Alpha Blockers Types, Benefits, and Side Effects 645d534366fd2.png

Alpha Blockers Types, Benefits, and Side Effects

Alpha-Blockers can reduce urinary symptoms by relaxing the muscles in specific areas of the urinary tract, such as the bladder and neck. This makes them a useful medication for treating urinary issues caused by an enlarged prostate.

The alpha-blocker that is most commonly used for bph urinary issues is Tamsulosin. Which is also known by its brand name Flomax.

Tamsulosin, as well as the alpha-blockers alfuzosin (Uroxatral), and silodosin (Rapaflo), are known as selective alpha-blockers that focus primarily on relaxing the tissues of the urinary tract. Whereas doxazosin (Cardura), and terazosin (Hytrin), are non-selective alpha-blockers that can affect both the urinary tract and other tissues located elsewhere in the body.

One of the benefits of using alpha-blockers such as tamsulosin (Flomax) is that they work quickly.

In fact, some patients taking tamsulosin may notice a difference within days of starting the medication. However, for those that are prescribed non-selective alpha-blockers like doxazosin and terazosin, their effectiveness can take time, as these medications have to be started at a very low dose and slowly titrate up so as to avoid causing low blood pressure.

Like all medications, alpha-blockers do come with their share of side effects.

The most common side effect reported is dizziness, however, this usually passes once the body adjusts to the medicine. That being said, it is wise to refrain from driving or using any heavy machinery while first adjusting to alpha-blockers due to this common side effect.

  • Other common side effects may include:
  • feeling dizzy or sick (nausea)
  • having a headache when you stand up
  • tiredness or fatigue
  • reduced libido
  • pounding heartbeat
  • a blocked nose
  • problems getting or keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • dry orgasm (where little or no semen is released during orgasm)

Because alpha-blockers lower blood pressure, there is also the risk of experiencing the side effects associated with this, especially if the dosage is too high.

  • Symptoms of low blood pressure from alpha-blockers include:
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Unusual thirst
  • Poor concentration
  • Blurry vision
  • Shallow breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin

Patients taking alpha-blockers to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate also risk experiencing sexual side effects from the medication. Though sometimes alpha-blockers can improve erectile function if the dose is too high and as a result blood pressure is too low, erectile dysfunction can occur.

Alpha-blockers can have dangerous interactions with many other medications. Alpha-blockers should not be taken with beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, medications for erectile dysfunction, and more.

It’s also important to note that while alpha-blockers lower blood pressure and have been shown to improve total cholesterol- some research has found that these medications can actually increase the risk of heart failure. So be sure to talk to your doctor about any of these concerns.

When it comes to taking medication to reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate it’s important to make sure the benefits outweigh the potential side effects and risks involved.

Some men find medication to be very beneficial, while for others, a more permanent solution is preferred- such as surgery or a non-invasive procedure such as Prostate Artery Embolization, which we specialize in here at MidAtlantic Vascular and Interventional.

For those men that do choose to take medication, alpha-blockers are not the only option. In our next article, we will take a look at another class of medications used to treat an enlarged prostate, 5–alpha-reductase inhibitors.

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