Tamsulosin, sold under the trade names Alna and Flomax
, is a medication used to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and chronic prostatitis, help with the passage of kidney stones, and for urinary retention along with other measures.
Tamsulosin, and other medications in the class called alpha blockers, work by relaxing bladder neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate itself and making it easier to urinate. It is an α1a adrenergic receptor antagonist.
Tamsulosin was developed by Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals (now part of Astellas Pharma) and was first marketed in 1996. The U.S. patent expired in October 2009. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved generics in March 2010.
Tamsulosin is primarily used for benign prostatic hyperplasia and to help with the passage of kidney stones. Tamsulosin, however, appears to be effective only for stones over 4 mm and less than 10 mm in size.
Tamsulosin is also used as an add-on treatment for acute urinary retention. People may void more successfully after catheter removal if they are taking tamsulosin. People taking tamsulosin also are less likely to need re-catheterization.
The results of the CombAT (combination of dutasteride (Avodart) and tamsulosin, under the brand name Duodart) trial in 2008 demonstrated that treatment with the combination of dutasteride and tamsulosin provides greater symptom benefits compared to monotherapy with either agent alone for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
The CombAT trial became the medication Jalyn. It was approved by the FDA on 14 June 2010. This combination can be useful as it can take up to six months for any symptomatic relief to be found by 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as dutasteride compared to alpha-1 receptor blockers which can provide relief in some cases within 48 hours.
Tamsulosin is a selective α1 receptor antagonist that has preferential selectivity for the α1A receptor in the prostate versus the α1B receptor in the blood vessels.
When alpha 1 receptors in the bladder neck and the prostate are blocked, this causes a relaxation in smooth muscle and therefore less resistance to urinary flow. Due to this, the pain associated with BPH can be reduced.
Selective action of tamsulosin in alpha 1A/D receptors is controversial and over three quarters of tamsulosin registered human studies are unpublished.
Tamsulosin was first marketed in 1996 under the trade name Flomax
. It is now marketed by various companies under licence, including Boehringer-Ingelheim and CSL. Tamsulosin hydrochloride extended-release capsules are marketed under the trade names Urimax 0.4(India), Flomax
tra, Contiflo XL, bestflo, Urimax and Pradif, although generic, non-modified-release capsules are still approved and marketed in many countries (such as Canada). In Mexico, it is marketed as Secotex and as Harnal D in Japan and Indonesia and as Harnal OCAS (oral controlled absorption system) in Thailand. In Egypt, Italy, Russia and Iceland, it is marketed under the trade name Omnic by Astellas Pharma Europe. The largest manufacturer of tamsulosin, drug substance, is Synthon BV (The Netherlands). Tamsulosin hydrochloride is marketed in Bangladesh under the trade names Uromax, Tamisol MR, Tamsin.