Flomax is the brand name of the prescription medication tamsulosin, usually prescribed to improve urination in men with an enlarged prostate gland. Manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, Flomax is sometimes prescribed to women having trouble urinating or completely emptying the bladder. Although the drug is not approved for women by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, side effects are no different for women except for those involving male-specific organs.
Most Common Side Effects
Side effects are uncommon with Flomax, but may include back pain or body aches, diarrhea, drowsiness, dry throat, headache, insomnia, nasal congestion or runny nose, nausea, swollen neck glands and weakness.
Dizziness and lightheadedness can be a problem for some people taking Flomax because tamsulosin can cause a significant drop in blood pressure. This is most obvious when getting up from a sitting or lying position. People experiencing these problems should avoid standing up quickly because they could lose their balance and fall, or even faint. Drinking alcohol can worsen such effects. Elderly people may be more sensitive to the dizziness side effect. Taking the medication at bedtime can decrease the chances for this happening.
Side effects that may indicate a more serious problem include fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower side or back pain, chest pain, painful urination or a worsening of urinating difficulty. People may also experience an allergic reaction to Flomax, exhibiting such symptoms as difficulty breathing, facial or mouth swelling, throat closing and a rash or hives.
Flomax can interact with numerous drugs, including antibiotics, anticoagulants, antidepressants, blood pressure medication, cardiac medication, cimetidine, cyclosporine and metronidazole.
Eye Surgery Issues
Using Flomax has been shown to double the risk of older men developing serious eye complications after cataract surgery. Flomax apparently causes the iris to flap when it is stimulated during surgery, which can result in injuries to the eye. Because so few women receive a prescription for Flomax, it is unknown if the risk is the same. Any woman taking Flomax who is considering eye surgery should talk with her doctor about the situation, because surgeons can effectively modify the procedure.