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What Is Terazosin?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Terazosin is a generic medication commonly marketed under the brand name Hytrin®. It is an alpha blocker that can help lower high blood pressure, as well as alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is an enlarged prostate. This drug works by relaxing the blood vessels to encourage circulation. It also encourages the prostate and bladder muscles to relax in order to reduce symptoms like difficult or painful urination and urgent or frequent urination.

An initial dose of terazosin should not exceed 1 milligram (mg) to allow the body to adjust to the drug. The doctor may gradually increase the dosage. Patients are encouraged to take a dose at bedtime to reduce the risk of falling due to fainting or dizziness. Usually, it will only be taken once daily. Those who experience stomach upset should take the dose with milk or a snack.

Terazosin is not a cure for high blood pressure or an enlarged prostate. Patients with hypertension should also follow a diet and exercise plan to treat their condition. Those taking it for BPH may not notice the full effect of the drug until they have followed their treatment plan for four to six weeks. Terazosin should not be abruptly discontinued. Doing so will necessitate a gradual dose increase if the patient takes the medicine again.

Some side effects may occur with the use of terazosin, which should be reported to the doctor if they are persistent or become troublesome. Patients have reported decreased sexual ability, swelling of the lower extremities or hands, or pain and numbness in the extremities. Nausea, weight gain, and blurred vision have also occurred. Other patients have reported fatigue, back pain, and general weakness, as well as a runny or stuffy nose.

More serious side effects require a doctor's urgent care. Men may experience a painful erection that lasts longer than four hours, a condition called priapism. Other side effects of terazosin can include shortness of breath, unusual mood changes, and severe dizziness. Rapid or irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, and facial swelling have also been reported. Other patients have experienced unexpected weight gain or fainting, especially when standing abruptly.

Before using terazosin, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements to avoid a potential interaction. Women who take this drug for high blood pressure should discuss the potential risks of using it while pregnant. As of 2011, it is unknown whether it passes into breast milk. Those who have liver disease, prostate cancer, or low blood pressure may be unable to use terazosin. This alpha blocker may interact with other high blood pressure medications and other medications for an enlarged prostate.

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