What Is Prazosin HCl?

Alex Tree

Prazosin hydrochloride (HCL) is a medication designed to treat hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. The drug is a alpha-adrenergic blocker that relaxes and expands blood vessels to improve blood flow. Prazosin HCL can also relax the muscles located in the bladder and prostate to make urinating easier. Some common side effects of the medication are general fatigue, dizziness or spinning sensations, and headache. It is possible for some things, including alcohol, to lower a person’s blood pressure below safe levels, so side effects should be monitored and alcohol avoided.

A medical professional checks a man's blood pressure. Prazosin HCl can be used to treat high blood pressure.
A medical professional checks a man's blood pressure. Prazosin HCl can be used to treat high blood pressure.

This medication treats high blood pressure by relaxing and expanding arteries and veins, allowing blood to flow easier. A health professional usually first prescribes a very low dose, then gradually strengthens the dosage to find the best amount for that specific patient. If another drug is given to the patient, the doctor will sometimes go back to giving the smallest dose of prazosin HCL and build up to higher doses to monitor potential interactions.

One of the most common side effects of prazosin HCL patients is dizziness, with slightly more than 10% of trial patients experiencing it. In the same study, roughly 7% of patients experienced headache, drowsiness, or general fatigue. A very small percentage of people experience depression, frequent need to urinate, and nasal congestion. It is also possible for other drugs to interact with prazosin HCL, so it is important for a doctor to be fully informed of all his or her patients’ medications before prescribing this medication.

A few things should be avoided when taking prazosin HCL; for example, it is generally advisable to not drink alcohol because it has the potential to lower blood pressure to unhealthy levels when combined with this medication. People taking prazosin HCL should also avoid standing for long periods of time or exercising in hot areas, lest they become dizzy. In addition, standing or sitting up slowly can prevent dizziness and therefore prevent falls.

Emergency medical attention should be sought if overdose is suspected. Some symptoms of overdose are extreme drowsiness or loss of consciousness, but any unusual or severe side effects should be brought to a health professional’s attention. One way to overdose is to take multiple doses at the same time, either by mistake or because the patient missed a dose. If a patient misses doses of prazosin HCL several days in a row, a doctor should be contacted. It may be necessary to once again start from a very low dose then gradually introduce higher doses.

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