Tamsulosin is a well-known drug that is available under the brand name Flomax. This drug is indicated for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, where prostate enlargement can reduce urinary flow. In such conditions, tamsulosin can be given, which can produce relaxation of the bladder neck as well as the urethra, thereby increasing the urinary flow. But how to take this tamsulosin, at what time it should be taken, what is the right dose of tamsulosin, and what is the effect of the food, whether it is to be taken either with food or without food, and which type of food should be taken, whether soft drinks can be taken along with tamsulosin, or what is the effect of alcohol? All these things are important while you are taking tamsulosin.
So, here let’s discuss the eight important things that should be considered while taking tamsulosin.
When is this tamsulosin to be taken? Generally, most of the drugs can be taken at any time of the day, but tamsulosin should be taken preferably in the morning, and it is recommended that this drug be taken 30 minutes after the breakfast. When tamsulosin is taken 30 minutes after breakfast, the drug concentration can be distributed for around 6 hours after administration. This distribution of the drug within the body for six hours can control the symptoms of BPH for the entire day; that's why tamsulosin should be taken only in the morning. When the drug is distributed for six hours, it can control the daytime symptoms of BPH and increase urinary flow for the entire day. That's why it should be taken only in the morning in order to produce its action throughout the day. And it is preferably taken after food because, in fasting conditions, the drug is more absorbed, leading to systemic complications. Because food can control the absorption of tamsulosin and the side effects produced by this drug, this drug should not be taken on an empty stomach.
When this drug is administered during fasting conditions, the drug concentrations are very high during the early hours of administration, which increases side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness. When this drug is taken on an empty stomach, the side effects of tamsulosin are more pronounced. Therefore, tamsulosin should be taken 30 minutes after breakfast, but for a few people, tamsulosin can be given at bedtime for the first few days in order to minimize the drowsiness produced by this drug. But after a few days again, it can be switched to the morning dose, so here the important consideration is that tamsulosin should be taken at the same time each day, 30 minutes after the meal and preferably 30 minutes after breakfast, in order to produce better action during the daytime, where it is really required to increase the unary flow.
Iin case of any missed dose, tamsulosin can be taken at any point of the day in order to control the symptoms of BPH, so it should be taken as early as possible in case of any missed dose. But at the same time, two doses of tamsulosin should not be combined on the next day as it significantly increases the side effects, so in the case of any missed dose, it should be taken only on the same day; on the next day, it should not be combined with the usual dose.
The second important thing is the duration of treatment. Generally, tamsulosin is well tolerated, so it can be used for long-term treatment, and it is initiated at a dose of 0.4 milligram, even It produces few of the side effects during the early days of treatment, but this drug should still be used long-term to control the symptoms of BPH. Whenever this tamsulosin is suddenly stopped, the symptoms of BPH can reappeared within two to three days of stopping the dose. That's why, unless it is recommended by the physician, otherwise significant side effects are produced by this drug that are not tolerated by the patient.
Except under these conditions, the dose of tamsulosin should not be skipped, as it leads to the reappearance of BPH symptoms in people. But in a few of the conditions, this tamsulosin can be stopped; for instance, before surgery, the use of tamsulosin may be stopped, but after the surgery, it should be continued based on the post-surgical conditions.
The third one is the intake of alcohol. What is the effect of alcohol on tamsulosin? Generally, tamsulosin can produce two important side effects: the first is drowsiness, and the second is dizziness, so it can produce some lightheadedness and unsteadiness in people. The same effect can also be observed with alcohol, which can also increase drowsiness when combined with tamsulosin.
That's why the intake of alcohol is not recommended with tamsulosin, particularly in the first few weeks of the treatment. So it is recommended that alcohol be avoided with tamsulosin during the early days of the treatment.
Tamsulosin can be used for the treatment of BPH as well as for renal stones. This drug is recommended with the intake of plenty of fluids, so plain water or fruit juices can be taken along with the tamsulosin to improve the symptoms of BPH and facilitate the passing of renal stones. But at the same time, tamsulosin should not be combined with fizzy drinks, as they contain carbonated water. This carbonated water can release carbon dioxide when it is taken, which may affect the renal system and result in irritation of the bladder.
This bladder irritation can produce some difficulty in urination, which is why, along with tamsulosin, fizzy drinks or soft drinks should be avoided, which mainly contain carbonated water. Instead, tamsulosin should be taken with plain water or a few fruit juices to improve the symptoms of BPH. But still, all fruit juices are not compatible with tamsulosin.
Generally, tamsulosin is metabolized within the liver, so when this tamsulosin enters the liver, it is going to be converted into metabolites, and this metabolism is mutated by one of the enzymes CYP3A4, cytochrome P450 3A4. This enzyme is important for the metabolism of tamsulosin. Here, grapefruit juice can act as an inhibitor of CYP3A4 enzymes, so it can inhibit the metabolism of tamsulosin. When the metabolism of tamsulosin is inhibited, the levels of tamsulosin within the body are increased, which increases the side effects of this drug.
When this tamsulosin is combined with grapefruit juice, it can increase side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and lightheadedness, which are not easily tolerated. That's why tamsulosin should not be taken with grapefruit juice.
Many of the fruits and nuts are rich in fiber, for example, pears, avocados, bananas, carrots, and strawberries. In this way, many types of foods are rich in fiber, which can control the symptoms of constipation, which again improves the symptoms of BPH. For instance, if a patient has constipation along with BPH, it can reduce the motility of the GI tract as well as the urinary flow, which further complicates the symptoms of BPH.
So in such people, along with intake of tamsulosin, intake of fiber is recommended to control urinary symptoms as well as constipation that may be produced with tamsulosin.
Already we have discussed that tamsulosin can produce some lightheadedness, so it can produce some dizziness, confusion, and even fainting, which are particularly important during the initial days. So while taking tamsulosin, care should be taken while driving vehicles or working with machinery because this drug can produce lightheadedness, particularly within the first few weeks of the treatment.
That's why this drug should not be combined with other drugs, which again produce lightheadedness; otherwise, it should not be combined with alcohol.
Use of tamsulosin may result in the failure of ejaculation; it can also produce some painful erections. It can even produce erections for longer periods than four hours, which may cause painful erections or even damage to the rectal tissue. So if prolonged, painful erections are observed with tamsulosin, the drug should be stopped immediately in order to avoid any damage to the erectile tissue. And for people with erectile dysfunction, a few drugs may be prescribed, like sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil.
All these drugs are phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, which are indicated for erectile dysfunction. But these drugs should not be combined with tamsulosin because all these drugs can produce significant hypotension when combined with tamsulosin. So for people with erectile dysfunction who are treated with phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors, tamsulosin is contraindicated.
So these are the eight important things that should be considered while taking tamsulosin. It is better if this drug is taken at the same time each day, especially in the morning, 30 minutes after breakfast. Lightheadedness and drowsiness can be observed in the early days of therapy, when alcohol is better avoided. Fizzy drinks may further complicate symptoms of BPH, so they are not recommended with Tamsulosin. So that's all about the intake of tamsulosin. Have a great day!