Flomax, also known as Tamsulosin, is a drug which doctors prescribe to treat an enlarged prostate and possibly other urination problems. The purpose of this drug is to make urination easier. This drug belongs to the family of drugs known as alpha adrenergic blockers. This means the drug relaxes the arteries and veins, enabling blood to pass easily through them. This in turn relaxes muscles in the prostate, making it easier for a man with prostate problems to urinate.
Common Side Effects of Flomax
The most common Flomax side effects occur in over 10% of men who use this medication. They include headache, dizziness, abnormal ejaculation, rhinitis or inflamed runny nose and infections.
Other side effects require particular attention, though they are less common, because they are potentially dangerous and in some cases have resulted in significant harm to patients. These include:
*Chest pain: 4% of men may experience chest pain on Flomax. Discontinue it if symptoms of angina (chest pain) occur or worsen.
*Orthostatic hypotension and syncope (passing out): 6 % to 19% of men may experience these adverse effects of Flomax. Orthostatic hypotension is a drop in blood pressure when going from laying down or sitting to standing. Flomax may cause orthostatic hypotension and syncope (fainting) within 4 to 8 hours of the first dose. These symptoms are also likely to occur if the dosage is rapidly increased, if another antihypertensive drug is started, or if Viagra or Cialis is started. Older patients may be more sensitive to the orthostatic hypotension caused by this drug.
*Priapism: Priapism is an erection sustained for a dangerously long time. Flomax has been associated with priapism, though this is a rare side effect.
*Floppy iris syndrome: Cataract surgery patients who were on or were previously treated with Flomax have been observed to have a condition known as intraoperative floppy iris syndrome. However, it is not clear that Flomax causes floppy iris syndrome and there appears to be no benefit in discontinuing Flomax prior to surgery.
The less common adverse effects that men taking Flomax may experience include:
- Somnolence or sleepiness (3% to 4% of men), insomnia (1% to 2% of men), vertigo (1% of men)
- Libido, or sex drive, decreased (1% to 2% of men)
- Palpitations or irregular heart beat
- Diarrhea (4% to 6% of men), nausea (3% to 4% of men), tooth disorders (1% to 2% of men), vomiting or constipation (rare)
- Weakness (8% to 9% of men), back pain (7% to 8% of men)
- Blurred vision (2% of men)
- Pharyngitis or sore throat (5% to 6% of men), cough (3% to 5% of men), sinusitis (2% to 4% of men)
- Allergic reactions (angioedema, itching, rash, skin welts, respiratory symptoms)
Flomax has many side effects. Some of them may warrant discontinuing the medication. However, for many men the benefits may outweigh the risk of side effects. Individuals should work with their physician to determine if Flomax is right for them.
Why Flomax may not be right for every Man
While using Flomax, the drug may help a man to urinate, but it can cause troubling vision problems. Occasional blurred vision may not represent a problem, but continual blurriness may be a sign that a man may not want to use Flomax. He may want to visit an ophthalmologist to discover if there is an eye disease or problem. These signs need to be evaluated by a doctor to see if indeed it is a side effect of the Flomax or if there is an eye disease present, such as glaucoma or diabetes.
While a man is utilizing Flomax another eye problem has surfaced that is called Introperative Floppy Iris Syndrome or IFIS. The problem occurs when a person goes to an eye surgeon to have cataract surgery; it may not be able to be performed due to IFIS surfacing while utilizing Flomax, thus preventing surgery from taking place. It seems the Flomax affects the patient’s pupils in such a manner that cataract surgery can’t occur.
Before a person has eye surgery, its is highly suggested that the surgery candidate tell the surgeon if he has recently taken this medication. The Flomax user also has to tell the surgeon if he has taken this drug within the past nine months, because the medication still can affect the eyes for that length of time.
Flomax has a long list of side effects that may derail a potential user from taking this medication. Besides having blurred vision while using the drug, a user can experience coughing, back pain, trouble sleeping, headaches, prolonged erections, and a drowsy feeling. Check with your doctor first to see if you need cataract surgery before utilizing Flomax so there aren’t any problems. It is always a good rule to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking before starting a new drug. Medline Plus and Drugs.com warn that while taking Flomax the user should be careful driving. The medication may affect alertness, so you should be certain of how this drug affects your body before driving because it can cause dizziness, blurriness and drowsiness.