Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Flomax?

Summary: There is no established interaction between Flomax and alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption appears to be safe. Also, new evidence now points to moderate alcohol consumption actually helping symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Dear Curtis: I’ve been taking Flomax for a couple of years for my prostate. Now, I’m actually taking the generic (tamsulosin). I probably should have found out the answer to this a lot sooner but I do have, on average, about 5 drinks a week. Not in one day, mind you. But spread out over the week. Does drinking alcohol mess with how effective Flomax is?

When a man starts taking Flomax it’s usually because he has Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Essentially, your prostate gland is getting larger. When that happens you can start to see problems with urination. Either that you have to go more often, can’t hold it, are going to the bathroom more at night and hesitancy to name a few. In short, all sorts of things that can be problematic.

Flomax comes in and starts blocking certain receptors in the smooth muscle of the bladder and prostate. The smooth muscle then relaxes and you get improved urine flow as well as a decrease in the symptoms I talked about above.

Now, while I kind of took the long way around the barn to get to the heart of your question, I did it for a reason.

First, there is no direct reason or interaction listed between Flomax and alcohol. So, drinking alcohol moderately with Flomax, is not prohibited.

Attacking Prostate Wives-tales and Half Truths

Up until recently, it was well established in the medical community to tell any patient who had any sort of prostate problems to completely avoid alcohol. Why? Because it would make your symptoms worse. After all, alcohol is a diuretic and will make you pee more. Especially if you have your alcohol closer to bedtime.

There’s only one problem with this advice: it’s wrong.

In a large study, involving 19,000 men across five continents and different age ranges researchers found that men who drank moderately (i.e., a drink or two per day – 12 oz of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz of 80-proof spirits) complained less about voiding symptoms and had better prostate symptom scores.

“Those who drink alcohol had a lower total International Prostate Symptom Score compared to those who do not drink,” said Dr. Roehrborn. “There was a striking difference in scores between alcohol consumers and those who never consume. People who drink are less bothered by their irritative prostate symptoms and have less trouble.”
Dr. Claus Roehrborn

By the way, these results appear to have nothing to do with testosterone levels, as men who didn’t drink and those who did had roughly the same testosterone levels. I mention this because it’s another wives tale (in my opinion) that testosterone is the cause for prostate issues. It appears to play a role in certain men, but just because you have high testosterone levels doesn’t mean your getting prostate cancer.

If that were the case, how come we don’t see more prostate cancer in 21 year-old guys?

I digress.

In Conclusion

There’s no published or established reason why you can’t have moderate alcohol consumption with Flomax. However, it does need to be moderate (defined above).

Additionally, research now points to the fact that moderate alcohol consumption can actually be helpful for enlarged prostate symptom control.