Urology Health - Prescription Drugs
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Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs may also be an option for men with BPH. Types of drugs include:

Alpha Blockers

Alpha blockers are pills used to relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder to reduce BPH symptoms.

They do not shrink the prostate but they may improve urine flow if there is a blockage. One benefit of alpha blockers is they start to work right away. Side effects may include dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and difficulty ejaculating. Men with moderate to severe BPH and men who are bothered by their symptoms are good candidates. Alpha blockers are not a good choice if you plan to have cataract surgery soon.

Alpha-blocking drugs include alfuzosin, doxazosin, silodosin, tamsulosin and terazosin.

5-Alpha Reducatase Inhibitors

5-alpha reductase inhibitors are pills that can increase urine flow and shrink the prostate by blocking DHT. DHT is a male hormone that can build up in the prostate and may cause prostate growth. These drugs may lower the risk of BPH problems and the need for surgery. Side effects include erectile dysfunction and reduced libido (sex drive). You must keep taking the pills to prevent symptoms from coming back. These may be best for men with very large prostate glands.

These prescription drugs may take many months to become fully effective and include dutasteride and finasteride.

Combined Therapy

With combined therapy, both an alpha blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor are used together. They may work better together than either drug does alone to stop BPH from getting worse. By taking two drugs, you may have more side effects than if you were taking just one. Some side effects may include dizziness, erectile dysfunction, weakness or lack of energy and a drop in blood pressure when moving from sitting or lying down to standing. A urologist may add antimuscarinics for patients with overactive bladder symptoms. Overactive bladder is when the bladder muscles squeeze uncontrollably. It leads to frequent and urgent need to pass urine. It can lead to incontinence (leaking.) Antimuscarinics relax the bladder muscles.

Men with larger prostates are good candidates for this treatment.

Possible drug combinations include:

  • Finasteride and doxazosin
  • Dutasteride and tamsulosin, a combination that is available in a single tablet
  • Alpha blockers and antimuscarinics

Phytotherapies are herbal treatments and are not recommended by health care providers. One popular herb is saw palmetto. Several important studies show they do not work. Also, the quality and purity of supplements vary.

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