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Alpha blocker

Alpha blockers (also called alpha-adrenergic blocking agents) constitute a variety of drugs which block α1-adrenergic receptors in arteries and smooth muscles.



These drugs may be used to treat:

Examples of alpha blockers

Alpha blockers include:

  • Doxazosin (Cardura)
  • Prazosin (Minipress)
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Phentolamine (Regitine)
  • Tamsulosin (Flomaxtra/Flomax)
  • Alfuzosin (Uroxatral)
  • Terazosin (Hytrin)

Tamsulosin is relatively selective for α1a-adrenergic receptors, which are mainly present in the prostate. Hence, it may have a more selective action in BPH with minimal effects on blood pressure.

Adverse effects and interactions

By reducing α1-adrenergic activity of the blood vessels, these drugs may cause hypotension (low blood pressure) and interrupt the baroreflex response. In doing so, they may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising from a lying or sitting posture (known as orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension). For this reason, it is generally recommended that alpha blockers should be taken at bedtime. Additionally, the risk of first dose phenomenon may be reduced by starting at a low dose and titrating upwards as needed.

Because these medications may cause orthostatic hypotension, as well as hypotension in general, these agents may interact with other medications that increase risk for hypotension, such as other antihypertensives and vasodilators.

As discussed above, tamsulosin may have less risk for hypotension and orthostatic hypotension due to its selectivity for α1a-adrenergic receptors. On the other hand, the drug (a) elevates risk for floppy iris syndrome, and (b) might show ADRs characteristic of the sulfa related drugs.


Although "alpha blocker" generally refers to α1-blockers, there are also α2-blockers, which are antagonists to the α2 adrenergic receptor. Examples include yohimbine, benzylpiperazine, rauwolscine and idazoxan.


  • DrugDigest - Alpha blockers
  • - Tamsulosin
  • MeSH alpha-Adrenergic+Blockers
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alpha_blocker". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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