Can Flomax Cause Heart Complications?

Conditions affecting the prostate can have a major impact on a man’s quality of life. 

For instance, prostate enlargement may cause lower urinary tract symptoms such as urinary urgency and frequency that affect your daily functioning. 

Hoping to manage these symptoms many men take Flomax. 

But are you aware of the side effects Flomax can cause?

Read on to find out how Flomax affects heart health, especially if you have a cardiovascular condition already.

What is Flomax?

Flomax is a brand name for a medication called tamsulosin hydrochloride. The medication was created primarily to treat chronic prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. 

As one of the first drugs available to manage BPH symptoms, Flomax has been around since the 1990s. In the United States, the FDA first approved the drug back in 1997. 

Millions of Flomax prescriptions are issued to men in the U.S. every year. The drug is usually available in 0.4 mg capsules and green/orange in appearance. 

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Flomax Uses

Flomax belongs to the class of drugs called alpha-blockers. Also known as alpha-adrenergic antagonists or ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers are formulated to relax the muscle tissue in blood vessels and the prostate gland to improve the flow of blood or urine. 

This particular medication, Flomax tamsulosin, works to relax the muscles in the bladder neck, and prostate and thereby make urination easier. 

Doctors prescribe Flomax to help BPH patients alleviate symptoms such as weak stream, difficulty starting urine flow, the urgency to urinate, and nocturia (urgent need to urinate at night). The medication is also used to manage urinary symptoms in men with prostate cancer. 

Besides prostate enlargement, Flomax has other users. The doctor may prescribe it for chronic prostatitis, bladder outlet obstruction, and kidney stones

However, Flomax has quite a few adverse reactions the patient should be aware of.

Can Flomax cause heart complications?

Flomax may cause various adverse reactions. The most common Flomax side effects are:

  • Drowsiness, weakness, dizziness
  • Headache
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Blurred vision 
  • Abnormal ejaculation 
  • Back pain 
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Skin reactions

But, what about Flomax and heart problems?

Besides these adverse reactions, tamsulosin can also affect the heart. For example, taking high doses of this medication can lead to a decrease in blood pressure (hypotension). 

This can increase your heart rate and make you feel drowsy and lightheaded. These symptoms are particularly common when you’re changing positions or moving suddenly. The change in blood pressure with a sudden shift in position is called orthostatic hypotension. 

It’s also useful to mention that Flomax can interact with other BPH drugs such as terazosin and some blood pressure medication. 

In these cases, the impact of tamsulosin on heart rate can be more pronounced. That could aggravate heart palpitations. 

In doses of 0.4mg, tamsulosin carries a lower risk of blood pressure problems, but they could happen with larger dosages.

Besides irregular heartbeat or palpitations, Flomax could potentially cause chest pain too. The risk of chest pain is higher in men who already have heart problems such as congestive heart failure. Chest pain is also one of the most common signs of myocardial infarction or a heart attack.

Both symptoms are serious and not to be ignored. 

Tamsulosin can cause other complications such as erectile dysfunction, intraoperative floppy iris syndrome, and priapism. As you may already know, erectile problems are strongly linked to blood circulation and cardiovascular health.

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Prevalence of this side effect

Even though Flomax can lead to heart complications, particularly in men with cardiovascular conditions, these side effects are poorly studied. 

For that reason, the prevalence of this side effect is unclear. At this point, there is no official info such as statistics about this problem.

However, one study explored the efficacy and safety of tamsulosin in different dosages such as 0.4mg, 0.8mg, and placebo groups. Results showed adverse reactions were more common in the 0.8mg group. 

This shows that higher doses lead to more serious effects, which could be harmful to your heart. That’s why it could lead to cardiovascular events that put you in danger.

Signs of heart problems

As mentioned above, tamsulosin can lead to low blood pressure, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Low blood pressure is just as damaging as high blood pressure

You can recognize hypotension by symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness, lack of concentration, fatigue, fainting, and blurred or fading vision.

Heart palpitations are indicated by irregular heartbeats but may be accompanied by pain and discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, and severe dizziness. 

What to do if you experience these signs while taking Flomax

Taking Flomax isn’t the easiest decision, mainly due to potential complications. Consult your doctor about the heart-related risks if you already have some cardiovascular condition, or you’re at a high risk of developing it.

However, if you’re taking Flomax, stop using the medication immediately if your heart palpitations, dizziness, and lightheadedness are severe. Call your doctor. Do the same if you experience shortness of breath. 

Chest pain requires immediate medical attention, so make sure to call 911. You also need immediate help if you have an allergic reaction characterized by swelling of the tongue, face, and throat, difficulty breathing, and skin blisters.

To cut down the heart complications, you may want to manage your enlarged prostate symptoms through more natural strategies that focus on lifestyle modifications. 

You will need to stop taking Flomax if you’re using it if you have severe heart problems and in other situations, such as before glaucoma surgery. 

These and erectile dysfunction medications are not recommended for men with heart problems, so you need to adhere to the doctor’s instructions.

Conclusion

Flomax, or tamsulosin, is a medication mainly prescribed for enlarged prostate. It has other uses too. 

Flomax may lead to heart complications, especially in patients with existing heart problems. 

For that reason, you may benefit more from natural approaches for prostate health. If you experience symptoms such as chest pain or severe lightheadedness of palpitations, seek medical assistance.

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Sources

  1. Narayan P, Tunuguntla HS. Long-term efficacy and safety of tamsulosin for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Rev Urol. 2005;7 Suppl 4(Suppl 4): S42-S48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1477608/
  2. Michel MC, Bressel HU, Goepel M, Rübben H. A 6-month large-scale study into the safety of tamsulosin. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2001. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2014481/
  3. de Mey C. Cardiovascular effects of alpha-blockers used for the treatment of symptomatic BPH: impact on safety and well-being. Eur Urol. 1998. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9732825/
  4. Lowe FC. Summary of clinical experiences with tamsulosin for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Rev Urol. 2005;7 Suppl 4(Suppl 4) S13-S21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1477611/

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