Does Drinking Wine Interact With Flomax?

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If you take Flomax, you should skip the wine. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

As men get older, the prostate gland tends to enlarge – a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Tamsulosin, or Flomax, is a drug from a class called alpha-adrenergic blockers that is prescribed for men who have an enlarged prostate. Drinking wine can also decrease symptoms of BPH, but wine, or alcohol in any form, can increase some Flomax side effects.

Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate gland puts pressure on the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body – and makes it difficult to completely empty the bladder. The prostate gland’s smooth muscle tissue stays in a constant state of contraction, which also increases pressure on the urethra and makes you feel a constant urge to urinate. Flomax relaxes the muscles in the neck of the bladder around the prostate, which makes it easier to urinate.

Flomax Side Effects

Flomax lowers your blood pressure and can make you dizzy, especially when you first start taking it or if you stop taking it for a while and then start taking it again. You are especially likely to feel dizzy if you get up suddenly from a sitting or lying position. Dizziness can occur in up to 15 percent of patients on Flomax, according to Drugs.com. Flomax can also impair your ability to think or slow your reaction time. Flomax may cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, gastric pain and nausea.

Wine and the Prostate

Moderate alcohol use decreases prostate muscle tone and may make it easier to urinate. Drinking up to two glasses of wine a day has been found to decrease the risk of BPH. A study published in the April 2008 “American Journal of Epidemiology” reported that moderate wine consumption decreased the risk of symptomatic BPH by 38 percent. A study published in the December 2009 issue of “Practitioner” reported similar results.

Wine and Flomax

The research on BPH may make you think a combination of wine and Flomax will help your BPH, but think again. When wine interacts with Flomax, both cause dizziness. The combination of wine and Flomax may cause you to fall or faint. All forms of alcohol including wine can also impair your judgment or slow reaction times and Flomax can have a similar effect. Alcohol and Flomax can also have an irritating effect on the gastrointestinal system and cause nausea or vomiting.

Considerations and Warnings

Alcohol consumption, even in small amounts, can impair your judgment and ability to do things like drive a car safely. Although the research does show wine has a beneficial effect on the risk of developing BPH, there are no medical recommendations to start drinking wine for that purpose. If you already drink wine and are prescribed Flomax, you should stop drinking wine.

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