Is a Generic Version of Flomax Available?

A Generic Version of Flomax Exists

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

A question from a reader: I have been taking Flomax for an enlarged prostate for about three years. I understand there is a generic equivalent, which I assume would be less expensive. Is there any reason to continue taking brand name Flomax as opposed to the generic?

Flomax is available as a generic medication. The generic name of Flomax is tamsulosin hydrochloride capsule and this generic equivalent is made by several manufacturers.

Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as brand name drugs. If you want to switch to generic formulations, please speak with your physician and pharmacist.

Flomax belongs to a class of medications known as alpha blockers. Alpha-blockers are used to treat an enlarged prostate (BPH), alpha blockers work by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue in your prostate and at the opening to your bladder. These medications can start working within two to three days, and may relieve your urinary symptoms in about two to three weeks.

The other drugs in this class are:

  • Cardura (doxazosin)
  • Hytrin (terazosin)
  • Uroxatral (alfuzosin)

Uroxatral has been approved by the FDA in generic form. The other two medications, Hytrin and Cardura, are available as generics. In late 2008, a large chain drugstore listed both Flomax and Uroxatral as costing more than $95 per month; doxazosin (the generic version of Cardura) was listed as costing $22 per month, and terazosin (the generic form of Hytrin) had a $13 per month price tag.

Both of these generic medications can also be purchased at Wal-Mart and other big-box stores for $4 per month (or $10 for 3 months).

More Information About Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

The prostate goes through two growth stages in men. The first growth stage occurs in puberty, and the second growth stage occurs after the age of 25.

When the prostate grows in size and volume, it can become hypertrophic thus leading to BPH. With BPH, the flow of urine is partially obstructed and the urethra, or tube through which urine passes, becomes narrower. About 80 percent of men aged 70 and older have some degree of BPH.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy is not a cancerous condition.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy can result in several urinary symptoms, which interfere with a man's ability to void properly, including the following:

  • nocturia (or frequent nighttime urination which rouses a person from sleep)
  • urge incontinence
  • frequency
  • stress incontinence

Benign prostatic hypertrophy is treated with diuretics and other medications. In mild cases with limited symptoms, no treatment may be needed. In severe cases, or in people who can't take medications for BPH, surgery may help.

Please remember that generic drugs are often available at big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart or Costco at reduced prices. If you have trouble paying for the medications that you need, please tell your physician.

Your physician should work with you to find reasonably priced alternatives. Finally, if the drug you need is only available as a brand-name option--with no generic available--many drug manufacturers sponsor programs that provide medications to those in need.

Additional Information

Original article edited by Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, on 2/28/2016.

Selected Sources

Stern SC, Cifu AS, Altkorn D. Kidney Injury, Acute. In: Stern SC, Cifu AS, Altkorn D. eds. Symptom to Diagnosis: An Evidence-Based Guide, 3e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. Accessed February 28, 2016.

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