How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Alfuzosin belongs to a group of medications known as alpha-1 receptor antagonists. It is used to treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Alfuzosin can also be used when a catheter is required for urinary retention and to help with urination after the catheter is removed. Alfuzosin helps to relax the muscles in the prostate and the opening of the bladder, which in turn improves urine flow and decreases symptoms of BPH. Alfuzosin does not slow or stop the progression of enlarged prostate.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each once-daily, prolonged-release, 3-layer, round, and biconvex tablet, contains 10 mg of alfuzosin HCl in a white matrix layer between 2 inactive yellow layers. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal hydrated silica, ethylcellulose, hydrogenated castor oil, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (hypromellose), magnesium stearate, mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, and yellow ferric oxide.
How should I use this medication?
The usual recommended dose is one 10 mg tablet daily, after a meal. The tablet should be swallowed whole, not chewed or crushed. It should be taken after the same meal each day.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. If you miss taking this medication for several days in a row, contact your doctor for instructions.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take alfuzosin if you:
- are allergic to alfuzosin or any ingredients of the medication
- have moderate to severe impairment of liver function
- take itraconazole, ketoconazole, or ritonavir
- take other alpha-1-blockers for blood pressure or prostate problems
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- fainting or lightheadedness, especially when rising from a sitting or lying down position
- fatigue or weakness
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- chest pain
- irregular or racing heart rate
- signs of liver problems (e.g., yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-coloured stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or itching)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- long-lasting (more than 4 hours) and painful erection of the penis
- signs of stroke (e.g., sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arms, or legs, and speech or vision problems)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Angina: Alfuzosin may cause increased heart rate or decreased blood pressure, which may affect control of angina symptoms. People with angina (chest pain) should stop using this medication if their symptoms reappear or become worse.
Cataracts: During eye surgery for cataracts, people who take or have taken alfuzosin are at risk for developing a condition called Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS). This condition can lead to eye damage. If you will be undergoing cataract surgery, tell your doctor that you are taking a medication that contains alfuzosin. Your surgeon may advise you to temporarily stop taking the medication before the surgery.
Drowsiness/dizziness: Alfuzosin may cause dizziness with the first few doses, affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other potentially hazardous tasks until you have determined how you are affected by this medication.
Liver function: If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon arising): Alfuzosin can cause orthostatic hypotension, leading to dizziness or fainting when rising from a sitting or lying down position. If you feel faint or dizzy when getting up, lie down until the symptoms pass. This effect often goes away as treatment with alfuzosin is continued. People with orthostatic hypotension should use caution while taking alfuzosin, as it may worsen their condition.
Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) cause many of the same symptoms. These two diseases frequently coexist. Before starting alfuzosin therapy, an evaluation should take place to rule out prostate cancer.
QT prolongation: This medication can lengthen heartbeat as shown on an electrocardiogram test, also known as QT prolongation. If you have heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms, or are taking certain medications (e.g., verapamil, atazanavir), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you develop heart palpitations (fast or irregular heartbeat) or experience fainting spells, stop taking alfuzosin and contact your doctor immediately.
Women: Alfuzosin is not recommended for use by women.
Children: Alfuzosin is not recommended for use by children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between alfuzosin and any of the following:
- alpha agonists (e.g., clonidine, methyldopa)
- alpha/beta agonists (e.g., epinephrine, norepinephrine)
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs; captopril, ramipril)
- angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs; e.g., candesartan, irbesartan, losartan)
- antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- "azole" antifungal medications (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole)
- beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol, propranolol, sotalol)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
- grapefruit juice
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., delavirdine, efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- other alpha blockers (e.g., doxazosin, tamsulosin)
- phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil)
- quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin,)
- St. John's wort
- serotonin antagonists (anti-emetic medications; e.g., granisetron, ondansetron)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., clomipramine, imipramine)
- tyrosine kinase inhibitors (e.g., crizotinib, dabrafenib, imatinib, lapatinib, pazopanib, sunitinib)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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