What Are the Side Effects of Drugs for An Enlarged Prostate?

Side effects of drugs for enlarged prostate can affect men’s sexual health. If your doctor has given you a diagnosis of an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), one of your many treatment options (e.g., watchful waiting, noninvasive nonsurgical procedures, surgery for BPH, natural treatments, supplements) is medication. Before you and your doctor make a decision to start such a treatment program, it’s a good idea to know the side effects of drugs associated with treatment of an enlarged prostate. To simplify your effort, we have noted the side effects of drugs for enlarged prostate by each of the different types of drug.

Side effects of alpha blockers (Flomax)

Alpha blockers help relieve BPH symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and the bladder neck so urine flows more easily. If your doctor prescribes an alpha blocker, the most common side effects include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, nasal congestion, and retrograde ejaculation. Alpha blockers may be less likely to cause sexual problems than some other BPH drugs, but there is still a risk of Flomax causing erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, reduced sperm count, testicular pain or swelling, and a higher risk of prostate cancer.  The alpha blockers include alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), silodosin (Rapaflo), tamsulosin (Flomax), and terazosin (Hytrin).

Side effects of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (Proscar and Avodart)

The two drugs currently in the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor category are finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). The 5-alpha reductase inhibitors work by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which then may slow the growth of the prostate and perhaps even reduce its size.

Side effects of drugs for enlarged prostate in this category may include enlarged breasts, erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, reduced sexual arousal, difficulties with orgasm, testicular pain, and abnormal ejaculation. With Avodart there is a higher risk of developing an aggressive prostate cancer.

Side effects of phosphodiesterase inhibitor (Cialis)

The erectile dysfunction drug tadalafil (Cialis), which is in the drug class of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors, was approved for treatment of BPH in October 2011. The good news about taking tadalafil for an enlarged prostate is, erectile dysfunction is not one of the side effects. Headache, however, affects more than 10% of men who take the drug, and other side effects that may occur in a smaller percentage of users include heartburn, back pain, muscle pain, stuffy nose, flushing, and limb pain. Use of tadalafil along with an alpha blocker may result in abnormally low blood pressure.

Side effects of anticholinergics (Detrol)

Anticholinergics (oxybutynin [Ditropan], tolteridone [Detrol]) are sometimes prescribed along with alpha blockers because they can help with urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and urge incontinence when these symptoms are not adequately managed by alpha blockers. Side effects may include blurry vision, constipation, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, headache, indigestion, stomach pain, and urinary tract infections.

Side effects of Jalyn (dutasteride plus tamsulosin)

A drug that combines dutasteride and tamsulosin for BPH is Jalyn. It was found to provide better relief of BPH symptoms as a combination than either dutasteride or tamsulosin alone. The most common side effects associated with this combination treatment are erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation, and reduced libido, but it can also cause abnormal orgasm, reduced sperm count, and  priapism, which is a painful erection that can last over four hours and requires emergency medical assistance.