tamsulosin, Flomax

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: tamsulosin


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tamsulosin is an oral drug for the treatment of men who are having difficulty urinating because of enlarged prostates from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In men, the tube which carries urine from the bladder through the penis (called the urethra) passes through the prostate gland. As men get older, the prostate gland enlarges, and the muscle cells within the prostate gland and the neck of the bladder (which controls the flow of urine) tighten. The combination of enlargement and tightening of muscles compresses the urethra and obstructs the flow of urine. This results in difficulty urinating and retention of urine within the bladder. The tightening or contraction of the muscle cells is controlled by nerves. One type of nerve, the alpha adrenergic nerves, cause the muscle cells to tighten by releasing a chemical related to epinephrine (adrenalin). Tamsulosin blocks the effects of this chemical on the muscle cells and causes the muscles to relax. This results in a decrease in obstruction to the flow of urine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/18/2014

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Back to Medications Index