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 still on patent protection, and the generic form -- tamsulosin -- will not be available until after October 2009.
Flomax belongs to a class of medications known as alpha blockers. 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.
If the cost of Flomax is a concern, it is possible that you could switch to another alpha blocker. This is something you will need to speak with your physician about, however, as a change may not make sense for your particular situation.
The other drugs in this class are:
- Cardura (doxazosin)
- Hytrin (terazosin)
- Uroxatral (alfuzosin)
Uroxatral is also on patent protection for another 3 to 4 years. 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).
I hope this information helps.