Alpha-blocker medicines

Alpha-blocker medicines relax smooth muscle in the body. Smooth muscle controls the blood vessels, intestines, bladder and urinary tract, and other involuntary actions in the body.

Alpha-blockers can be used for many problems, including:

  • Prostate problems. These medicines can relax the smooth muscle in the prostate and urethra, which lets urine flow out of the body more easily.
  • Kidney stones. These medicines can relax the smooth muscle in the ureters (the tubes that move urine between the kidneys and the bladder) and make them wider, which can help a kidney stone pass more easily.
  • High blood pressure. These medicines can relax the smooth muscle in the blood vessels and make them wider, which can help lower blood pressure.

Examples of alpha-blocker medicines include alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), silodosin (Rapaflo), tamsulosin (Flomax), and terazosin (Hytrin).

Side effects of alpha-blockers include:

  • Dizziness, especially when standing up.
  • Headache.
  • Drowsiness.

Alpha-blockers are also called alpha-adrenergic antagonists.

Last Updated: March 24, 2008

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology/Oncology

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