Alfuzosin for prostate gland enlargement (Xatral)

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Your first dose of alfuzosin may make you feel dizzy or faint, or start sweating.

Take your first tablet at bedtime and remain lying down until these symptoms have completely passed.

Alfuzosin can cause dizziness which may affect your ability to drive. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive or use tools or machines.

Type of medicineAn alpha-blocker
Used forEnlargement of the prostate gland in men
Also calledTablets: Xatral®
Prolonged-release tablets: Xatral® XL, Besavar® XL, Fuzatal® XL, Vasran® XL
Available asTablets and prolonged-release tablets

The prostate gland commonly becomes larger in older men. Prostate gland enlargement is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate is situated close to the bladder, so its enlargement can cause problems with passing urine. Common symptoms that are experienced are having to wait before your urine starts to flow, taking longer at the toilet, dribbling urine, and a feeling that your bladder is not quite empty.

Alfuzosin works by relaxing the muscles around your bladder and prostate gland so that you can pass urine more easily. There are two types of alfuzosin tablets available - immediate-release tablets and prolonged-release tablets. Immediate-release tablets need to be taken several times a day (typically, three times daily). Prolonged-release tablets are taken once a day as they release alfuzosin slowly throughout the day.

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 knows:

  • If you ever feel dizzy or faint when you stand up, or if you have ever fainted after passing urine.
  • If you need to have cataract eye surgery.
  • If you have any liver, kidney, or heart problems.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about alfuzosin and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take alfuzosin exactly as your doctor tells you to. Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water - do not break or chew the tablet.
  • Your first dose of alfuzosin may make you feel dizzy or faint, so it is important that you take it just before you go to bed. If you feel dizzy or weary, or if you start sweating, remain lying down until these symptoms have completely gone.
  • 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 the directions will also be printed on the label of the pack of tablets to remind you about what the doctor said to you.
  • If you have been given prolonged-release tablets (these have 'XL' after the brand name), take one tablet every day. Take the tablet with a snack or just after eating a meal. After the first dose, you can take your dose at a time of day that best suits you, but try to take your doses at the same time of day each day. This will help you to remember to take the tablets regularly.
  • If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take the next dose when it is due and then carry on as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Alfuzosin can cause dizziness particularly when you first start taking it. This may affect your ability to drive. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive or do things which would be dangerous if you were not fully alert.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor may want to take your blood pressure from time to time, particularly when you first start the treatment.
  • You are advised not to drink alcohol while you are on alfuzosin. Alcohol increases the risk of side-effects from alfuzosin, such as feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Consider reducing or stopping the amount of caffeine you drink (commonly found in tea, coffee and cola). Caffeine can make your symptoms worse, so drinking less of these things may benefit you.
  • If you are a smoker, stopping smoking may significantly improve your symptoms. This is because nicotine irritates the bladder. You can 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.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with alfuzosin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common alfuzosin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 men)
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling tired, dizzy, faint, or weakDo not drive or use tools or machines while affected
Feeling light-headed when getting up from a lying or sitting positionGetting 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 mouthTry chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling sick, diarrhoea, tummy (abdominal) painStick 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 the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take alongside your prescribed medicines.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Alfuzosin 2.5 mg Tablets; Zentiva, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2014.
  • British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3848 (v26)
Last Checked:
17/03/2015
Next Review:
16/03/2018
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