Tamsulosin (Oral)

Tamsulosin works on the body by relaxing muscles in the bladder and prostate muscles, easing the expulsion of urine, and remedying a number of complaints affecting the urinary tract.

Overview

Tamsulosin is part of the alpha blocker class of medication commonly used as a course of treatment for symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (otherwise known as BPH). It has also been used to assist the passage of kidney stones and, along with other measures, has be utilised in helping with urinary retention.

Tamsulosin, in common with other alpha blockers, works by causing the muscles in the bladder neck, and muscle fibers in the prostate to relax, which makes it easier for the body to naturally expel urine.

Though often prescribed for kidney stones, tamsulosin is only effective on stones in a certain range of sizes. Specifically, the drug has proven effective for stones that are less than 10 millmeters (mm) but more than 4 mm in size. Naturally this limits the effectiveness of tamsulosin in all cases, but within its range it is considered a very useful way of augmenting treatment for the condition.

Tamsulosin is prescribed for patients suffering from acute urinary retention. Patients who have had their catheter removed have been shown to void urine more successfully when placed on a course of tamsulosin. Likewise, they have also be shown to be less at risk of need the catheter to be reapplied. This is of immense benefit to patients, as reinsertion of the catheter can be both painful and uncomfortable.

Tamsulosin is often prescribed in conjunction with dutasteride, the combination of drugs proving to increase the benefits of treatment in patients with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia than either drug on its own.

Tamsulosin is only available with a prescription from your doctor or health care professional.

Tamsulosin is available in the following dosage forms:

  • capsule

Conditions Treated

  • symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • kidney stones (between 4 millimeters (mm) and 10 mm in size)
  • acute urinary retention (following removal of catheter)

Type of Medicine

  • alpha blocker

Side Effects

As well as its intended and desired effects, medication can sometimes cause less desirable effects. Whilst not every one of the listed effects is likely to occur, should they do so, you may require medical attention.

If you should begin to exhibit one or more of these following effects, you must immediately check with your prescribing doctor.

  • cough or hoarseness
  • fever or chills
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • chest pain
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • dizziness, light-headedness, or faintness when standing up from a sitting, or lying position
  • fainting
  • feeling of constant movement in oneself or one's surroundings
  • prolonged or painful erection of the penis
  • spinning sensation
  • blistering, loosening, or peeling of the skin
  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • labored or difficult breathing
  • fast, irregular, or pounding pulse or heartbeat
  • itching
  • muscle or joint pains
  • large, hive-like swellings to the sex organs, feet, hands, legs, throat, tongue, eyelids, lips, or face
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • irritated and reddened eyes
  • soreness of the throat
  • white spots, ulcers, or sores upon the lips, or inside the mouth
  • sweating
  • tightness of the chest
  • unusual weakness or tiredness

Aside from the effects listed above, certain side effects might occur that do not normally require medical treatment. They might disappear during your course of treatment, with your body adjusting to the tamsulosin. Your prescribing doctor might also offer advice about how to reduce or prevent certain effects from occurring. Always consult with your doctor should any of these listed effects become bothersome or continue during your course of tamsulosin.

  • abnormal ejaculation
  • back pain
  • body pains, or aches
  • congestion
  • headache
  • lack or loss of strength
  • sneezing
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • swollen, tender glands in the neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • changes to voice
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • decreased sexual drive or performance
  • drowsiness
  • inability to have or maintain an erection
  • increased cough
  • loss of sexual drive, desire, performance, or ability
  • nausea
  • tenderness or pain around the cheekbones and eyes
  • unusual drowsiness, or sleepiness
  • tooth disorder
  • trouble sleeping
  • constipation
  • hives, welts or a skin rash
  • reddening to the skin
  • vomiting

There may be additional effects, which have not been listed here, that might present themselves in certain patients. Should you suffer from any unusual effects during your course of treatment with tamsulosin, consult your doctor.

Dosage

Be sure to take tamsulosin precisely as your prescribing doctor recommends. Do not take any more, or more frequently, or for a longer period of time than your course of treatment dictates.

Tamsulosin comes with an information insert for patients. Read the instructions and follow them with utmost care. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your prescribing doctor.

Take each capsule about half an hour after the same mealtime each day. The capsule should be swallowed whole: do not open, chew, or crush it.

The dosage of tamsulosin you are required to take differs from patient to patient. You should always follows the instructions from your doctor, or the directions on the drug's label. The information that follows describes only the average dosage of this medication. Should you be prescribed a different dose of tamsulosin, do not alter it, unless advised to do so by your doctor.

The amount of tamsulosin you are prescribed to take will depend upon the strength of the medication. The number and frequency of doses, as well as the length of your course of treatment with the drug will depend upon the specific nature of the medical condition you are being treated for.

For oral dosage as capsules:

For symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia:

  • Adults: at first take 0.4 milligrams (mg) once per day. Your prescribing doctor may choose to increase your dosage, if necessary.
  • Children: the use of tamsulosin is not recommended for children.

If you miss a dose of tamsulosin, take it as soon as you can. However, if it is nearly time for your next dosage, skip the dose you missed and go back to your regular dosage schedule. Do not double your doses.

Major Drug Interactions

Some drugs should never be used alongside one another. In certain circumstances two different forms of medication might be prescribed concurrently, even though there is a chance of a known interaction occurring. In such situations, your prescribing doctor might choose to alter the dosage, or may suggest other precautions you can take to limit the effects of the interaction.

When prescribed tamsulosin, it is important to inform your prescribing doctor should you currently be undergoing a course of treatment that involves the following medications. These known interactions are listed based on the likelihood of an interaction occurring, and this list may not be exhaustive.

Using tamsulosin alongside any of the drugs listed below is not advised. Your prescribing doctor might choose not to treat you with tamsulosin, or may decide to alter the other medications you are taking.

  • boceprevir

Taking tamsulosin alongside any of the drugs listed below is generally not to be recommended, but it might be necessary in certain situations. If both medicines are to be taken at once, your prescribing doctor might choose to alter the dose or the frequency of either drug, or possibly both.

  • voriconazole
  • telithromycin
  • telaprevir
  • tadalafil
  • saquinavir
  • ritonavir
  • posaconazole
  • paroxetine
  • nelfinavir
  • nefazodone
  • lopinavir
  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole
  • indinavir
  • idelalisib
  • conivaptan
  • cobicistat
  • clarithromycin
  • ceritinib
  • atazanavir

Using tamsulosin with one or more of the following drugs might result in a greater chance of developing some side effects, but the use of both medications at the same time might be the most favourable course for you to take. Should both drugs be prescribed concurrently, your prescribing doctor might choose to alter the frequency or the dosage of one or other of the medications.

  • vardenafil
  • timolol
  • tertatolol
  • talinolol
  • sotalol
  • sildenafil
  • propranolol
  • pindolol
  • penbutolol
  • oxprenolol
  • ebivolol
  • nadolol
  • metoprolol
  • metipranolol
  • mepindolol
  • levobunolol
  • labetalol
  • esmolol
  • dilevalol
  • cimetidine
  • celiprolol
  • carvedilol
  • carteolol
  • bucindolol
  • bisoprolol
  • bevantolol
  • betaxolol
  • avanafil
  • atenolol
  • alprenolol
  • acebutolol

Some medications are not meant to be taken at the same time as consuming food, or particular varieties of food, due to the risk of interactions occurring. Likewise, some medication should not be taken at the same time as using tobacco or ingesting alcohol, for much the same reason. Check with your prescribing doctor if you have any concerns with your food, alcohol, or tobacco consumption during your course of treatment.

Warnings

Whenever deciding to use a drug, you must weigh the risks of taking the medication against the positive effect it will have. This decision should be made between you and your prescribing doctor, following a suitable consultation.

Be sure to inform your examining doctor should you have previously suffered an allergic reaction to tamsulosin, or any other medicine. You should also advise your doctor whether you are affected by any other allergies, such as an allergic reaction to certain animals, foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Tamsulosin is not intended for use by the pediatric population, and should not be administered to children.

Appropriate medical studies have not shown any geriatric-specific problems with tamsulosin that would limit the drug's usefulness in the elderly.

Animal studies have shown no indication of tamsulosin causing harm to the fetus during pregnancy, however, there have not been adequate studies among pregnant women to demonstrate if this is the case in humans.

There have been no adequate studies performed among women to determine infant risk when using tamsulosin whilst breastfeeding. You should weigh the benefits of the medication against all potential risks before deciding to take this drug when breastfeeding.

It is essential that your prescribing doctor check your progress throughout your course of treatment, to ensure that tamsulosin is working correctly for you, and to check for any sign of unwanted side effects.

You may experience dizziness, fainting, or light-headedness after you take tamsulosin, particularly when getting up from a sitting or a lying position. Standing up slowly might lessen this problem. Should you start to feel dizzy, lie down on the floor so that you do not faint. Then sit still for a while before attempting to stand again, to prevent dizziness from returning.

Because of the above possible reaction, be sure that you know how you react to tamsulosin before you use machinery, drive, or perform any other activity that could be dangerous if you are not fully alert.

Tamsulosin has been known to rarely cause a severe allergic reaction, including swelling of the throat, tongue or face, as well as blistering of the skin and difficulty breathing. Should this occur during your course of treatment, be sure to contact your prescribing doctor immediately.

If you experience a prolonged erection whilst using tamsulosin, you should seek immediate medical attention. This is an extremely rare side effect that, if left unchecked, could lead to permanent erectile damage or impotence.

If you intend to have glaucoma or cataract surgery, be sure to tell your ophthalmologist that you are taking tamsulosin, or that you have taken it in the last nine months. A serious eye condition known as Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (or, IFIS) has been seen to occur in some patients who were undergoing a course of tamsulosin, or who had just finished such a course when they underwent glaucoma or cataract surgery.

Do not take any other medication alongside tamsulosin unless you have discussed this with your doctor. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as vitamin or herbal supplements.

Other Medical Problems

If you suffer from certain medical conditions, they might affect your use of tamsulosin. Be sure to inform your prescribing doctor should you suffer from any other medical problems, but especially any of the following.

  • an allergic reaction to sulfa drugs (tamsulosin can produce an increased risk of an allergic reaction in patients suffering this condition)
  • hypotension, or low blood pressure (tamsulosin may worsen this condition)
  • severe kidney disease
  • severe liver disease (the effects of tamsulosin might be increased owing to the slower removal of the drug from the body)

Storage

Tamsulosin should be stored at room temperature in a closed container. It should be kept away from direct light, heat, and moisture, and measures should be taken to keep it from freezing.

Tamsulosin should always be kept beyond the reach of children.

You should make sure you do not keep medicine that you no longer need, or which has become outdated.

If you are unsure how to dispose of any tamsulosin that you do not use, always ask your prescribing doctor or health care professional.

Summary

Tamsulosin is an alpha blocker used in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), kidney stones, and as complementary medication to assist patients suffering from urinary retention, following the removal of their catheter. Its effectiveness in treating kidney stones is somewhat limited, on being of use in the removal of kidney stones within a certain size range.

It works by relaxing the bladder and prostate muscles, allowing the body to expel urine more easily and naturally. This effect is what makes it such a beneficial secondary treatment for patients who have recently had their catheter removed.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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