Doxazosin is commonly prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate and to control high blood pressure. It relaxes the muscles of the prostate and bladder and also relaxes blood vessels throughout the body. This allows them to open wider so that blood can flow more easily. There are some potential side effects, such as dizziness and fatigue. The drug comes in tablet form and is typically taken once a day.
Doxazosin (sold under the brand name Cardura) is made by Pfizer, Inc. Several manufacturers make generic versions, however.
How Does Doxazosin Work?
Doxazosin is part of a class of drugs known as alpha blockers. The medication works by blocking alpha-1 receptors. These are found in several places of the body and have various effects.
When used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), blocking alpha-1 receptors helps to relax the muscles of the prostate and the bladder neck (where urine leaves the bladder). Doxazosin does not shrink the prostate, as some other BPH medications do. However, by relaxing the muscles of the prostate and bladder, BPH symptoms are often quickly relieved.
When used to treat high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension), blocking alpha-1 receptors helps the blood vessels throughout the body to relax. Tightly constricted blood vessels can be one of the causes of hypertension. Doxazosin relaxes the vessels, making them wider so that blood can flow more easily. This decreases the pressure in the vessels.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 4, 2007.
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