Last Edited: April 16th, 2012

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Flomax is a drug that allows men with enlarged prostates, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, to urinate more easily. Often, when the prostate is enlarged, it presses on the bladder and impedes the flow of urine. Flomax helps the muscles in both the bladder and the prostate relax and allow the flow of urine.


Flomax should be taken according to the instructions on the bottle or according to the physician. Some people become lightheaded or even faint when they take Flomax, so a patient should know how the drug affects them before they drive or start to operate heavy machinery. They should avoid strenuous exercise or sudden movements, especially when they get up from a chair or out of bed. A doctor might have to adjust the dosage once in a while till they find the dosage that’s best for the patient.

Patients take the pill once a day, about a half hour after eating and ideally at the same time each day. The capsule should be swallowed whole. The usual starting dosage is about .4 mg and sometimes a doctor will increase it to .8 mg. Flomax is usually taken in a brown and orange capsule. A patient who misses a dose shouldn't take twice as many capsules the next time. If they miss several doses the doctor might have to adjust the dosage downward if they’ve been taking .8 mg.

Even though the FDA has listed Flomax as a category B, which means it seems to have no risk to a human fetus, neither women nor children should take Flomax.

Side Effects

The side effects of Flomax can be dizziness, sleepiness, headache, weakness, backache, blurry vision, insomnia, sexual symptoms, cough and symptoms that feel like a cold like sore throat and runny nose. Side effects that require that the patient call their doctor include chest pain, symptoms like the onset of a flu and a feeling that the patient is going to faint.

Symptoms of an overdose are fainting and a very profound dizziness much worse than the "normal” dizziness that comes with taking Flomax. The patient or their caretaker should call 911 or a poison help line.

When Not To Take Flomax

People shouldn’t use Flomax if they’re allergic to Flomax, whose generic name is tamsulosin. They should also not take it with other drugs that have a similar effect on the bladder and prostate. Many other drugs should also not be taken with Flomax, such as antidepressants, anti-malaria medication, medications that treat erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular medications, antibiotics, medicines that treat HIV/AIDs, or psychiatric medications.

The patient should tell the doctor all medications and supplements they're taking, including vitamins, before they start to take Flomax. Flomax can also affect the outcome of cataract surgery. The patient should tell their eye surgeon beforehand that they’re taking Flomax.

Men who have or had prostate cancer should consult with their doctor before they start to take Flomax. They should also know that their prostate and their blood pressure will have to be monitored, as Flomax can cause hypotension. The patient should also let their doctor know if they already have hypotension or any other medical condition.