Flomax, Rapaflo Side Effects May Increase Fall and Fracture Risks For Older Men: Study

New research suggests that side effects of certain prostate medications, such as Flomax, Uroxatral, and Rapaflo, may increase the risk of falls and fractures among elderly men. 

In a study published this week in the medical journal The BMJ, researchers from Western University in London, Ontario indicate there is a small, but significant, increase in the risk of falls and fractures for men taking prostate-specific alpha-blocker antagonist drugs.

These falls and the resulting injuries can result in serious consequences for the patient, often proving to be a deciding factor in whether these men need to be admitted to a nursing home, the researchers warned.

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Researchers looked at data on 147,084 men ages 66 and older who used either Flomax, Uroxatral, or Rapaflo between June 2003 and December 2013. They looked at hospital emergency room visits, or inpatient admissions for falls or fractures within 90 days of exposure to the drugs.

The study found that the biggest effect was the increased risk of hyoptension and head trauma, which was 80% higher for men who took drugs to treat an enlarged prostate. there was also a 14% increased risk of falls, and a 16% increased risk of fractures, with 80% of the fractures coming from the same men who reportedly fell.

The most commonly used medication for enlarged prostates and urinary problems was Flomax.

“The effect of benign prostate hyperplasia treatment on falls and fractures has been identified as an important research question because of the direct morbidity associated with falls in the elderly, the common need for nursing home admission after a fall, and the substantial direct medical costs,” the researchers noted.

Researchers determined that the falls and fractures were most likely caused by the hypotension due to the drugs’ side effects.

“This conclusion is further strengthened by our observation that men starting prostate-specific α antagonists were significantly more likely to require hospital admission or emergency room assessment for hypotension,” they concluded. “In elderly people, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury, and these older patients have greater cognitive decline and increased mortality compared with younger patients.”

Flomax (tamsulosin) is an elective medication used to treat urinary problems in men with enlarged prostates. It is prescribed to reduce difficulties like frequent urination, urgent need to urinate and waking up during the night. It was introduced in 1997 by Boehringer Ingelheim and generated sales in excess of $1 billion in 2008.

Previous studies have also warned about the risk of hypotension from side effects Flomax, which involves low blood pressure that can lead to reduced oxygen to the brain and vital organs, potentially causing patients to experience shock in severe cases.

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