Take one tablet/capsule every day.
Your first dose of tamsulosin may make you feel dizzy or faint, or start sweating. Take your first dose at bedtime and remain lying down until these symptoms have completely passed.
Tamsulosin can cause dizziness which may affect your ability to drive. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive or use tools or machines.
|Type of medicine||An alpha-blocker|
|Used for||Enlargement of the prostate gland in men|
|Also called||Cositam®; Contiflo®; Diffundox®; Faramsil®; Flomax® Relief; Flomaxtra®; Galebon®; Losinate®; Pamsvax®; Petyme®; Pinexel®; Prosurin®; Tabphyn®; Tamfrex®; Tamurex®|
Combination brands: Combodart® (this contains tamsulosin in combination with dutasteride); Vesomni® (this contains tamsulosin in combination with solifenacin)
|Available as||Prolonged-release tablets and capsules|
The prostate gland commonly becomes larger in older men. Prostate gland enlargement is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate is situated close to the bladder, so its enlargement can cause problems with passing urine. Common symptoms that are experienced are having to wait before your urine starts to flow, taking longer at the toilet, dribbling urine, and a feeling that your bladder is not quite empty.
Tamsulosin works by relaxing the muscles around your bladder and prostate gland so that you can pass urine more easily. It is available on prescription and you can also buy some packs at a pharmacy, without a prescription.
Sometimes, more than one type of medicine is needed to control the symptoms of prostate enlargement. Tamsulosin is available in combination with other medicines for prostate enlargement. The combination brand called Combodart® contains tamsulosin with a medicine called dutasteride, and the combination brand called Vesomni® contains tamsulosin with a medicine called solifenacin. These brands may give better relief of symptoms than tamsulosin alone.
Before taking tamsulosin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tamsulosin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you ever feel dizzy or faint when you stand up, or if you have ever fainted after passing urine.
- If you need to have cataract eye surgery.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take tamsulosin
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about tamsulosin and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take tamsulosin exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you to. Swallow each dose with a drink of water - do not crush, break, or chew the tablets/capsules.
- Your first dose of tamsulosin may make you feel dizzy or faint, so it is important that you take it just before you go to bed. If you feel dizzy or weary, or if you start sweating, remain lying down until these symptoms have completely gone.
- Take one tablet/capsule every day. After the first dose, you can take your dose at a time of day that best suits you. Although you can take tamsulosin either before or after a meal, the usual advice is to take your doses after the same meal of the day each day.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Tamsulosin can cause dizziness particularly when you first start taking it. This may affect your ability to drive. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive or do things which would be dangerous if you were not fully alert.
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor may want to take your blood pressure from time to time, particularly when you first start the treatment.
- You are advised not to drink alcohol while you are on tamsulosin. Alcohol increases the risk of side-effects from tamsulosin, such as feeling faint or dizzy.
- Consider reducing or stopping the amount of caffeine you drink (commonly found in tea, coffee and cola). Caffeine can make your symptoms worse, so drinking less of these things may benefit you.
- If you are a smoker, stopping smoking may significantly improve your symptoms. This is because nicotine irritates the bladder. You can ask your doctor for advice on quitting.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking tamsulosin. This is because your blood pressure may drop suddenly if you have an anaesthetic. If you are having cataract surgery, it is particularly important that you tell your surgeon you are on tamsulosin. This is because an eye problem known as 'floppy iris syndrome' has developed in some people and your doctor may advise you to stop taking tamsulosin for a short while.
Can tamsulosin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with tamsulosin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common tamsulosin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 men)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy||Do not drive or use tools or machines while affected|
|Ejaculation problems||If this becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to tamsulosin, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store tamsulosin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take alongside your prescribed medicines.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Flomax® Relief MR; Boehringer Ingelheim Limited Consumer Healthcare, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2014.
- British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins