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What Is Tamsulosin Hydrochloride?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Part of a group of medicines known as alpha-blockers, tamsulosin hydrochloride is a muscle relaxant. It treats problems with urination associated with enlarged prostate glands. Tamsulosin hydrochloride treatment typically involves taking one capsule daily and is specifically for use in men.

Prostate problems, even if they impact on health, may be benign and nonlife threatening. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a medical condition that results from an enlarged prostate gland, and that can affect the ease of urination in men. BPH increases the size of the prostate and also makes the muscle of the gland, and of the outlet of the bladder, tighter than usual. The reason the urination is compromised is that the larger prostate obstructs the bladder outlet, and the increased tightness of the muscle further closes up the neck of the bladder.

What tamsulosin hydrochloride does to the prostate is relax the abnormally tight muscles and make the bladder neck more open. The flow of urine therefore increases through the wider neck. This eases the flow of urine, makes the flow more constant, and reduces the feeling of needing to go to the toilet compared to before treatment. If urinating is painful because of the blockage, relaxing the muscles can also reduce the pain.

Tamsulosin hydrochloride is not a permanent cure for prostate problems. It merely temporarily relaxes muscles affected by the benign prostatic hyperplasia. The temporary effects of the drug require it to be taken every day at about the same time each day. Men affected by BPH may experience a recurrence of the symptoms if they stop taking the drug.

Some men may find that the drug makes them sleepy or causes insomnia. Vision problems, backache, or diarrhea can also occur. Severe allergic reactions, including hives and difficulty breathing, are also possible. The drug can also directly affect the function of the penis. Difficulty when ejaculating or a long-lasting and sore erection can be caused by tamsulosin hydrochloride.

Women should not take the drug unless expressly authorized by a doctor for a medical reason. Men with a history of liver, kidney, or prostate problems should inform their doctors prior to taking the drug. Drugs such as other alpha-blockers, blood-thinning medicines like warfarin, and medications to treat erectile dysfunction may also interact with tamsulosin hydrochloride, so the doctor should be informed. As well as the more serious potential side effects, temporary effects such as dizziness and fainting can occur while under treatment with the drug.

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