What medications help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Certain medications known as alpha-blockers are commonly used to improve urination in men with a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. These alpha-blocker drugs include tamsulosin (Flomax®), terazosin (Hytrin®), doxazosin (Cardura®) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral®). These medications work by relaxing a type of muscle called smooth muscle in the bladder and the prostate, helping to ease urination.

Currently, there are two types of drugs available for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)-related urinary symptoms: alpha-blockers and enzyme inhibitors.

Alpha-blocker drugs, which are much more widely used than enzyme inhibitors, help relax the smooth muscle in the prostate that constricts the urethra and bladder neck when the muscle tightens. Alpha-blocker drugs currently available include long-acting drugs that are taken once per day—terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), silodosin (Rapaflo) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral).

Enzyme-inhibitor drugs block the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the form of testosterone that stimulates prostate-cell growth. The action of the enzyme inhibitor causes the prostate to shrink, relieving urinary symptoms of BPH. It may take months for these drugs to reach full effect. Tadalafil (Cialis), an erectile dysfunction medication, has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate and can relieve symptoms as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.