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A comparison of Avodart and Flomax for enlarged prostate treatment can be helpful for men who have been diagnosed with this prostate condition, which is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Both Avodart (dutasteride) and Flomax (tamulosin) are commonly prescribed for this condition, but they are from two different drug categories and work somewhat differently. Therefore, men who are considering either of these two medications should be aware of the similarities and differences between the drugs.
What is Avodart?
Avodart is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, which means it works to treat symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme is found in small amounts in muscle and transforms testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a process that stimulates enlargement of the prostate. Avodart helps interfere with that process and as a result, reduces urinary tract symptoms.
Use of Avodart is associated with a variety of side effects, including dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, erectile dysfunction, reduced sperm count, lower semen volume and sperm movement, loss of libido, ejaculation problems, breast tenderness, and stuffy or runny nose.
What is Flomax?
Flomax belongs to the drug classification alpha blockers. When prescribed for BPH, this medication works by relaxing the prostate muscles and the bladder muscles, which in turn improves the ability of men to urinate without pain, dribbling, urgency, and other symptoms. Flomax does not work by reducing the size of the prostate gland.
Some of the side effects associated with Flomax use are similar to those caused by Avodart, but many are different. Adverse effects you may experience when using Flomax include dizziness, fatigue, fainting, vertigo, headache, nasal congestion, erectile dysfunction, postural hypotension (low blood pressure when changing position), priapism, retrograde ejaculation, problems with orgasm, and symptoms associated with Peyronie’s disease.
Using Avodart and Flomax
At one time, doctors sometimes prescribed Avodart and Flomax simultaneously because they tackle symptoms of an enlarged prostate in different ways. However, now both of these drugs are available in a single formulation as a once-daily pill called Jalyn. This combo drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2010.
Studies of the dutasteride and tamsulosin combination (Jalyn) have shown that men experienced significantly better symptoms relief than did their peers who took the same amount of either Avodart or Flomax alone. Along with the better treatment results, however, men also can still expect to have side effects associated with either drug.
Avodart and Flomax safety warnings
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that use of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as Avodart and Jalyn was associated with an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Warning boxes are on the labels of these medications.
Men who take Flomax should avoid use of erectile dysfunction drugs (e.g., phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors such as Viagra) or other alpha-blockers because of a greater risk of hypotension. Before starting any medication, discuss the benefits and risks with your healthcare practitioner and which drug best fits your needs, lifestyle, and expectations.