Treating Prostatitis with Alpha Blockers
Your doctor has diagnosed you with prostatitis, and is recommending treating your prostatitis with alpha blockers. What should you know about alpha blockers for prostatitis?
What are alpha blockers?
You may recognize alpha blockers as medications that are often prescribed for high blood pressure. However, these drugs possess qualities that are also effective for prostatitis. When used for this prostate challenge, they can relax the prostate muscles and those at the base of the bladder. These actions in turn reduce muscle spasms and tightness, which can then allow normal urine flow.
Alpha blocker choices
Currently there are five alpha blockers for prostatitis treatment: alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), silodosin (Rapaflo), tamsulosin (Flomax), and terazosin (Hytrin). These drugs are designed to block alpha receptors, which appear in various places throughout the body, including the prostate, blood vessels, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system.
Since alpha blockers have such far-reaching capabilities, you will likely note some adverse reactions. However, although these drugs share the same class, their side effects differ somewhat. You should talk to your doctor about which medication is the right one for you.
For example, here are the most common side effects for these drugs:
- Alfuzosin: dizziness and upper respiratory tract infection
- Doxazosin: dizziness or lightheadedness
- Silodosin: dizziness and retrograde ejaculation
- Tamsulosin: cough, fever or chills, lower back or side pain
- Terazosin: dizziness
Other less common side effects (occurring in about 10 percent or less of patients) include fatigue, nasal congestion, impotence, weakness, slight increases in bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), rapid heartbeat, weight gain, and headache.
Taking alpha blockers
Alpha blockers are available in pill form and should be taken according to your doctor’s orders. Here are a few facts you should know about alpha blockers for prostatitis before you take them:
- They typically work best in men who have not tried many other medications
- They work best if you have moderate to severe symptoms
- When taken along with an antibiotic, the combination has been shown to better improve symptoms of chronic prostatitis and pelvic pain than when taking either medication alone
- Since they often cause lightheadedness, it is best to take alpha blockers at night and to start with a low dose and to increase it gradually if needed
- You may experience low blood pressure, dizziness, and even fainting when you first start taking alpha blockers, especially when rising from a sitting or lying position. Therefore your first does should be taken at bedtime.
- You can alpha blockers with or without food, as food does not seem to affect the effectiveness of these drugs
- Alpha blockers can interact with other drugs, including but not limited to beta blockers, drugs for erectile dysfunction, cimetidine, and calcium channel blockers. So be sure to talk to your doctor before using any of these medications.
- Tamulosin seems to work equally effectively if taken daily or every other day according to some research. If you take tamulosin, be sure to talk to your doctor about this dosing option.
Before you and your doctor decide you should take alpha blockers for prostatitis, be sure you tell your physician about any other medications, supplements, or treatments you are taking. If alpha blockers do not help your prostatitis symptoms, inform your doctor so you can both plan on finding an alternative treatment.