Tamsulosin is used to treat symptoms of urination (peeing) difficulty in men who have an enlarged prostate. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
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What is tamsulosin?
Tamsulosin is used to treat symptoms of difficulty peeing which can happen when you have an enlarged prostate. It can help with difficulty in beginning the flow of urine, weak urine flow, and the need to urinate frequently or urgently – including during the middle of the night.
Read more about enlarged prostate and bladder control problems in men.
Tamsulosin works by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and part of the bladder. It does not make the prostate smaller.
In Aotearoa New Zealand tamsulosin is available as 400 microgram capsules.
- The dose of tamsulosin is 1 capsule once a day.
- Always take your tamsulosin exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much tamsulosin to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
How to take tamsulosin
- Take tamsulosin capsules with a glass of water (200-250 mLs) at the same time each day.
- You can take it with or without food.
- Swallow the capsule whole.
- Tamsulosin can make your feel dizzy, weak or light headed, so you may prefer to take your dose at bedtime – see dizziness and fainting below.
- Alcohol: Limit drinking alcohol while you are taking tamsulosin. Alcohol can increase the chance of side effects such as feeling dizzy or faint.
- Missed dose: If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
Precautions when taking tamsulosin
Tamsulosin can interact with some medications, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new products.
If you are having eye surgery (eg, a cataract operation), tell your doctor that you are taking tamsulosin.
Precautions before taking tamsulosin
- Do you have problems with your kidney or liver?
- Have you ever had low blood pressure when you stand up from sitting or lying down?
- Are you taking any medicines that reduce blood pressure?
- Are you taking any over-the-counter or complementary medicines, eg, vitamins, minerals, herbal or rongoā Māori?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you take tamsulosin. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
What are the side effects of tamsulosin?
Like all medicines, tamsulosin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
Dizziness and fainting
Your first dose of tamsulosin may make you feel faint, dizzy or light-headed for a few hours after taking it. To minimise the impact of this effect:
- Take this dose at bedtime.
- Be careful when moving from a sitting or lying position, as you are at risk of falls.
- Stand up slowly from a sitting or lying position.
- If you feel dizzy or faint, remain lying down until these symptoms have gone.
- Do not drive or use tools or machines until you know how this medicine affects you.
Other side effects
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|For more information on side effects, see the Medsafe consumer information leaflet Tamsulosin.
Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM)? Report a side effect to a product.
The following links provide further information on tamsulosin. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.
Tamsulosin NZ Formulary
Tamsulosin Medsafe Consumer Information, NZ
Tamsulosin Patient Info, UK
Tamsulosin NZ Formulary
Alpha-blockers NZ Formulary
Tamsulosin Medsafe, NZ