Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Medications

Since benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition that can cause or be caused by infections of the urinary tract, doctors usually begin BPH treatment with a regimen of antibiotics to take care of any possible infection that could interfere with or complicate treatment of BPH itself.

Most cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia are mild enough to be treated with prescription medication and do not require surgery. Finasteride, (Proscar) and dutasteride, (Avodart) are two such drugs that are used to prevent further prostate growth and in some cases actually shrink the prostate gland back to a less obstructive size.


Finasteride is an enzyme inhibitor, and works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is a necessary factor in changing testosterone into other substances. When a patient stops taking Finasteride, the prostate will begin to grow again. These medicines work by hindering the production of dihydrotestosterone, a substance derived from testosterone that can retain high levels in the prostate even as the aging body begins to produce less and less of the testosterone itself. Both medicines have a risk of causing birth defects in infants, and as such should not be touched or handled by women, especially women who are pregnant at the time of contact.

Alpha Blockers

Another class of benign prostatic hyperplasia drugs are known as alpha blockers. These medicines, including terazosin, (Hytrin) doxazosin, (Cardura) tamsulosin, (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral) work by relaxing muscles in the prostate and neck of the bladder. This improves the flow of urine by widening the bladder outlet. Terazosin and doxazosin were both originally designed to treat high blood pressure.

Terazosin and doxazosin are known as alpha-adrenergic blockers, and besides their effect on the muscles of the bladder neck, they similarly relax veins and arteries, causing them to expand and giving the drugs their effect on blood pressure.

Combining Medications

A recent study has shown also that using finasteride, (Proscar) and doxazosin, (Cardura) together greatly increases the effect of the treatment on slowing or reversing prostate swelling. When used together, your chances of stopping the progression of BPH are almost double that of using either medication by itself. This study indicated a success rate of sixty-seven percent when the two drugs were combined, whereas each individual treatment had only a roughly thirty-percent chance to stall further swelling of the prostate gland.

Sometimes a man may not know he has any obstruction until he suddenly finds himself unable to urinate at all. This condition, called acute urinary retention, may be triggered by taking every day over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines. Such medicines contain a decongestant drug, known as a sympathomimetic.

A potential side effect of this drug may be to prevent the bladder opening from relaxing and allowing urine to empty. When partial obstruction is already present, urinary retention also can be brought on by alcohol, cold temperatures, or a long period of immobility.

In addition to prescription medication, there are herbal remedies available that can also relax the muscles of the bladder neck and allow a patient to build them back up to proper levels.