If you have been diagnosed with BPH or fear that you may have this condition, then you’ve probably already seen many potential medications and supplements claiming to help you.
It can be frustrating to know which product actually works and what the potential side effects could be.
BPH is not alone in the fact that it seems to borrow the treatments recommended and used for other conditions – Erectile Dysfunction being one.
Care must be taken to understand the potential side effects, especially if used at the same time as other treatments.
In many cases when medications are prescribed for BPH, they are prescribed for life unless surgery is opted for.
What Exactly Are Alpha Blockers and How do They Treat BPH?
There seems to be some confusion between ‘alpha blockers’ and ‘alpha reductase inhibitors’.
Both of these medications can help treat the symptoms of BPH but each does so in a different way.
Uptodate.com have an in-depth article on BPH and its many treatments in which they explain the difference.
Alpha blockers – These medications relax the muscle of the prostate and bladder neck, which allows urine to flow more easily. There are at least five medications in this category: terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), and silodosin (Rapaflo). Terazosin and doxazosin were initially developed to treat high blood pressure, but were later found to be useful for men with BPH.
Alpha blockers begin to work quickly and are usually recommended as a first-line treatment for men with mild to moderate symptoms.
It’s useful to understand how each of these medications targets the symptoms of BPH so you can make better decisions on which treatment to try first.
Usually the strongest medications will have the higher risk of side effects.
Alpha-reductase inhibitors — Alpha-reductase inhibitors are medicines that can stop the prostate from growing further or even cause it to shrink. Finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) are alpha-reductase inhibitors.
This type of medicine works better in men with a larger prostate. It can reduce the risk of urinary retention (not being able to empty the bladder) and the need for surgery. Most men see an improvement within six months of starting treatment. Continue reading …
Alpha blockers were originally used for treating high blood pressure.
It was discovered that alpha blockers could cause dilation of the blood vessels which in turn lowered high blood pressure.
It was later tested in the treatment of BPH as the drug also had a relaxing effect on the prostate.
A BPH sufferer who decides to try alpha blockers as part of their BPH treatment, is still faced with the task of choosing from the many different variations.
Although around 50 percent of men taking Alpha Blockers have reported positive improvement in their symptoms, effects may vary based on the specific Alpha Blocker product.
The following are the most common Alpha Blockers used for BPH:
Alpha Blockers for BPH Comparison
It’s difficult to suggest the right Alpha Blocker as each patient has a different set of circumstances.
The most common Alpha Blockers for BPH treatment are Doxazosin and Terazosin.
Doxazosin often goes by the brand name of Cardura with Terazosin being better known as Hytrin.
Specific research and testing has already been carried out between the different Alpha Blocker brands.
The US National Library of Medicine published the results of the tests carried out by the Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, Afyon Kocatepe University, Afyon, Turkey.
They tested the effectiveness of doxazosin vs. terazosin for BPH.
The results showed:
RESULTS: Eleven (44%) out of 25 patients using doxazosin and 10 (40%) out of 25 patients using terazosin showed improvement in both IPSS and Qmax at the end of the 3rd month and continued using the drug. After 3 months of treatment, increase in Qmax (p < 0.001) and decrease in IPSS (p < 0.01) was significant for both doxazosin and terazosin. Nineteen patients, who did not show improvement in any of the parameters, switched the drug. Of the patients who switched the drug, 2 (4%) showed improvement both in IPSS and in Qmax, while 2 (4%) showed improvement only in IPSS but not in Qmax. The remaining 15 (30%) patients did not show improvement in any of the parameters.
CONCLUSION: The results of the study suggest that alpha-blockade with either doxazosin or terazosin is effective in males with LUTS. The two alpha-blocking drugs showed equal effectiveness in the treatment of LUTS. If one of the drugs is ineffective in the treatment of LUTS, then the other drug will probably be ineffective.
The research suggests no noticeable difference in the different brands of Alpha Blocker although at this time there are no other comparison studies to hand.
Careful research should be carried out prior to taking any of these medications as well as consulting with your Doctor.
Each brand of Alpha Blocker may produce different side effects and your Doctor will have a better understanding of your current health as well as the effects of taking it with any medications you may already be taking.