An enlarged prostate can be troublesome and affects quite a large percentage of the aging male population.
One survey found that at least 25% of men over 50 in the United States experience moderate-to-severe lower urinary tract symptoms.
Among the men who consulted with a physician for these symptoms, more than 50% were diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which refers to an enlarged prostate.
An enlargement of the prostate defines benign prostatic hyperplasia.
There are treatments available, but not all of them yield effective results in the male patient.
The majority of these drugs also tend to focus on improving symptoms instead of targeting the underlying cause.
We take a closer look at what Rapaflo (Silodosin) is and how effective the drug is in the treatment of BPH.
What is Rapaflo?
Rapaflo is a pharmaceutical drug that was developed as a treatment for patients diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
This is the brand name of a drug known as Silodosin. A pharmaceutical company known as Allergan developed the drug.
Rapaflo is only available with a prescription. Patients do need to realize that the medicine will not actually treat the enlargement of their prostate, but rather act as a way of reducing symptoms.
It is essential to understand how Rapaflo works. This drug is classified as an alpha-adrenergic blocker. It is not a drug that will actually cause the prostate to shrink. Instead, it rather acts on the muscles that are located at the site of the bladder and the prostate.
In turn, the patient may experience a relief of symptoms caused by Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
What is Rapaflo Silodosin used for?
Rapaflo Silodosin is used as a treatment for BPH. This condition causes the prostate to become enlarged.
As a result, there is a constriction of urine flow when the gland is enlarged. This causes symptoms like urinary difficulty and the inability to maintain their urine stream.
Rapaflo acts as an alpha-adrenergic blocker, which causes the relationship of muscles in the prostate. The drug also works on the bladder’s neck muscle.
These muscles tend to constrict when the prostate is enlarged, which can further contribute to the signs and symptoms experienced in the presence of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
When these specific muscles relax, then there may be an improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms that the patient experience. This might help to make the initiation of a urine stream easier.
There may be less discomfort and pain during urination. Urine flow may also be improved, and it might be easier for the patient to maintain the flow while they urinate.
When should you take Rapaflo?
Men should understand that being diagnosed with BPH does not necessarily mean that they will need to start using a drug like Silodosin (Rapaflo).
As an alpha-adrenergic blocker, this drug was developed to help reduce the lower urinary tract symptoms that an enlarged prostate is known to cause.
Thus, a patient should only talk to their doctor about using Rapaflo or consider the drug if they experience the symptoms of BPH listed below:
- Frequently urination.
- Having a consistent urge to urinate.
- Dribbling after the patient urinated.
- The bladder does not become thoroughly empty during urination.
- Nocturia (having to urinate frequently at night).
- Starting urination may become difficult.
- The urine stream may be weak.
- The urine stream may be inconsistent – frequently starting and stopping.
Risks and Benefits of Rapaflo
While Rapaflo may provide improvements in lower urinary tract symptoms, patients should be aware of both the good and the bad that come with the drug.
In this section, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the particular benefits that a patient may expect when they turn to this medicine.
We will also look at the risks and potential silodosin side-effects that patients should know before taking the medication.
What are the long-term effects of taking Rapaflo?
Several studies have shown that the side-effect and risk profile of this drug is considered more beneficial compared to other options for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
The current studies show that Rapaflo does seem to be tolerable, even when the male patient has prescribed the drug over a long time. There is, however, one particular area of concern – and this is with the long-term side-effects on ejaculatory function.
One particular scientific publication explains that some men who use Rapaflo to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia tend to experience ejaculatory abnormalities.
Retrograde ejaculation is one of the potential issues that men may experience. This side-effect may remain and is a common reason for male patients to stop using the drug.
How common is it to overdose on Rapaflo?
No extensive studies have been done to determine the potential rate at which people overdose on Rapaflo. In most cases, the patient will be provided with a dose of 8mg. This dose is taken once per day.
When the Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is not severe, the patient may instead be offered a lower dose to start with.
The dosage taken can then be adjusted until the patient finds the drug works effectively for them without causing severe side-effects.
Overdosing on the drug may not be too common, however. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that high doses were tested in male patients who were considered otherwise healthy.
The highest dose that did not deem severe or fatal complications was 48mg of the drug daily.
The most significant adverse reaction noted among these patients was orthostatic hypotension. This refers to a drop in blood pressure levels when the patients stand up.
Other than this, healthy individuals may also find that their blood pressure levels become lower in general. This can cause issues with patients who are already experiencing problems with low blood pressure or hypotension.
What happens if you just stop taking Rapaflo?
Rapaflo is not considered an addictive substance. The product only acts on the muscles located in the prostate, as well as those at the bladder neck.
Thus, patients can stop using the product without experiencing withdrawal effects. This does not mean no adverse reactions may occur if a patient suddenly stops using the drug.
Rapaflo is a medicine that causes muscles that are located near the urethra to relax. This is critical for patients with an enlarged prostate, as it may help to ease some lower urinary tract symptoms experienced.
If the patient suddenly decides to stop using the drug, then symptoms may return. Even when taken over a long period, the lower urinary symptoms could quickly return once the drug has worked its way out of the system.
Safety and effectiveness of Rapaflo
The decision to take a specific drug should be made carefully. The patient should be aware of the benefits and risks.
Additionally, understanding how effective the medicine would be for the person and knowing whether the product is truly safe is also essential.
We consider specific cases where Rapaflo may not be an appropriate option for patients, such as when the person is already taking certain drugs.
What should you avoid while taking Rapaflo?
Not every man diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is an appropriate candidate for Rapaflo.
A person first needs to undergo a consultation with a physician before being prescribed the drug. The physician should take several factors into account – such as existing conditions that might be indicated as contraindications for those interested in using Rapaflo.
Patients with severe renal impairment should not use this drug. Additionally, those with hepatic impairment should also be wary of the potential interaction between Rapaflo and the condition.
There is also a concern for patients who have previously experienced hypersensitivity to the active ingredient silodosin.
Those undergoing cataract surgery should also be aware that the drug may affect your pupils.
A complication known as intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS) has occurred in some people who were taking or recently took this type of drug and had cataract surgery.
What can other drugs affect Rapaflo?
Apart from contraindications regarding the use of Rapaflo in the presence of certain conditions, the patient should also ensure they understand what pharmaceutical drugs the medicine may interact with.
When the drug is taken with other medicines, interactions may cause an alteration in how the body processes the active chemicals.
In turn, more severe adverse reactions could be experienced, or drugs used to treat potentially fatal conditions may become less effective.
Some of the most important drugs that should not be used with Rapaflo include:
- CYP3A4 Inhibitors – CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as Ketoconazole, may cause exposure to the silodosin ingredient in Rapaflo to increase significantly.
The concentration of silodosin may be increased by over 300% when used alongside Ketoconazole. The exposure of the chemical also seems to increase at a similar rate. This could cause potential side-effects associated with the drug to become worse.
- Alpha-Blockers – Patients should also be careful about mixing Rapaflo with alpha-blocker medications, such as Tamsulosin.
Even though no scientific studies have yet shown interactions between these drugs, due to the mechanism of action in each medication, it is expected that there will be some sort of reaction.
- PDE5 Inhibitors – Viagra usually prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction, would be the most famous one here. This also goes for any PDE5 inhibitor, including drugs containing Tadalafil and Sildenafil.
- P-Glycoprotein Inhibitors – Medications classified as P-Glycoprotein Inhibitors should also not be mixed with Rapaflo or any other medicines that contain silodosin.
It has been found that the exposure to the silodosin chemical is significantly increased when co-administered with a P-Glycoprotein inhibitor. This may lead to worse adverse reactions.
- Antihypertensives – The use of Rapaflo has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels possibly.
Therefore, combining the drug with antihypertensives could yield a more significant drop in these levels. In turn, the patient may be at risk of experienced blood pressure levels that are too low, which can be dangerous at times.
Orthostatic hypotension may also be worsened, and the patient may experience dizziness when the two drugs are combined.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Even when a patient follows the dosage instructions provided to them, there are still some side effects of Rapaflo that may occur in some men.
Male patients interested in using the drug to reduce lower urinary tract symptoms should first educate themselves about these side-effects, ensuring they know what to expect.
The most common adverse reactions that are reported by men who take the drug include:
- Abdominal pain.
- Feeling weak.
- Stuffy nose.
- Runny nose.
- Sore throat.
- Dizziness and in rarer cases, fainting.
- Allergic reaction.
Some experience abnormalities with their ejaculation. Cases have been reported of retrograde ejaculation. Men may also find that the volume of semen during ejaculation is decreased.
Rarer adverse effects have also been noted and are generally a call for concern. Patients who take Rapaflo and notice that they suddenly feel as if they are going to faint should consult with a doctor.
If a patient experiences severe dizziness severe, they should seek medical assistance. It is also important not to drive, operate machinery, or perform any dangerous tasks until you know how it affects you.
There have also been men who experienced a painful erection, with the penis remaining erect for more than four hours.
In such a case, the patient should also be taken to a medical facility for appropriate treatment. This can cause damage to their penis if the issue is not addressed promptly.
Best prostate health supplements
The side-effects and risks that have been associated with the use of BPH medication such as Rapaflo cause a lot of patients to turn to prostate health supplements. The market has been flooded with these supplements, however, and they will not all truly help to promote a healthier prostate.
Understanding what works and how safe these alternative options are is important for the man with an enlarged prostate.
What are the top prostate health vitamins?
Various vitamins and minerals are often advised for men who are concerned about their risk of developing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
This causes a lot of these people to buy multivitamins or supplements that contain specific nutrients, with the hope of improving existing BPH symptoms and prevent further issues.
Zinc and vitamin C are some of the most often recommended vitamins. Unfortunately, at the moment, the research behind these nutrients are limited.
One publication, however, explains that scientific evidence has suggested that the following might be supplemented worth trying by people with diagnosed Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
When should you start taking prostate health supplements?
Determining when it would be appropriate for a man to take these supplements to depend on the intended goal.
As a preventative strategy, the supplement should be taken at an appropriate time to help improve prostate health and possibly reduce the risk of BPH.
The risk of an enlarged prostate significantly increases with age. Thus, men who are concerned about the condition might want to consider starting to use this type of supplement daily before the age of 50.
Those who already have been diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia can take supplements to help ease the present symptoms that they are experiencing possibly.
Beta-Sitosterol is another option that leads to a reduction in inflammation. What makes this particular option unique, however, is the fact that researchers found the chemicals in the natural product binds to the patient’s prostate.
On the other end, we have Pygeum, a natural extract that could actually reduce the size of the prostate in men with BPH, which is quite different from the mechanisms of action provided by other natural prostate health supplements.