|Type of medicine||Alpha-blocker|
|Used for||Enlargement of the prostate gland in men|
|Also called||Tablets: Xatral®
Prolonged-release tablets: Xatral® XL, Besavar® XL, Fuzatal® XL, Vasran® XL
|Available as||Tablets and prolonged-release tablets (these release alfuzosin slowly throughout the day to give a more even effect)|
The prostate gland commonly becomes larger in older men. Prostate gland enlargement is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It can cause problems with passing urine, such as having to wait before your urine starts to flow, taking longer at the toilet, dribbling, and a feeling that your bladder is not quite empty.
Alfuzosin works by relaxing the muscles around your bladder and prostate so that you can pass urine more easily.
Before taking alfuzosin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking alfuzosin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver, kidney, or heart problems.
- If you ever feel dizzy or faint when you stand up, or if you have ever fainted after passing urine.
- If you are are due to have cataract eye surgery.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take alfuzosin
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of alfuzosin you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it. Take alfuzosin exactly as your doctor has told you.
- If you have been given immediate-release tablets (2.5 mg strength), the usual dose is one tablet three times each day, although this can vary. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you and this dose will also be on the label of your tablets. Your first dose of alfuzosin may make you feel faint, so it is important that you take it at bedtime. If you feel dizzy or weary, or if you start sweating, remain lying down until these symptoms have gone.
- If you have been given prolonged-release tablets (these have 'XL' after the brand name), take one each day. Take your dose with a snack or just after eating a meal, and try to take your doses at the same time each day. This will help you to avoid missing any. These tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water - do not crush, break, or chew them.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take the next dose when it is due and carry on as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Alfuzosin can cause dizziness particularly when you first start taking it. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive or do things which would be dangerous if you were not fully alert.
- You are advised not to drink alcohol while you are on alfuzosin. Alcohol will increase the side-effects of alfuzosin such as feeling faint or dizzy.
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored.
- If you are a smoker, stopping smoking may significantly improve your symptoms. This is because nicotine irritates the bladder. Ask your doctor for advice on quitting.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking alfuzosin. This is because your blood pressure may drop suddenly if you have an anaesthetic. If you are having cataract surgery, it is particularly important that you tell your surgeon you are on alfuzosin. This is because an eye problem known as 'floppy iris syndrome' has developed in some people and your doctor may advise you to stop taking alfuzosin for a short while.
Can alfuzosin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common alfuzosin side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling tired, dizzy, faint, or weak||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Feeling light-headed when getting up from a lying or sitting position||Getting up more slowly may help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments to prevent the dizziness returning|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, abdominal pain||Stick to simple foods. Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store alfuzosin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Alfuzosin 2.5 mg Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Alfuzosin 2.5 mg Tablets, Zentiva, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Xatral® XL; Manufacturer's PIL, Xatral® XL, sanofi-aventis, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2010.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson