Summary: While Flomax is approved for use in men doctors have had success using it in women (and men) who are trying to pass kidney stones. While the evidence is limited, Flomax (and other alpha blockers) appear to help patients pass stones quicker and with less pain medication. Flomax is usually well tolerated.
Dear Curtis: I’ve always had an issue with kidney stones. I have been researching medication options to help with them. I came across Flomax but I’m a little hesitant to discuss it with my doctor because I’m a woman and I don’t know if Flomax can be used in women?
You’re right. Flomax and other so-called ‘alpha blockers’ are primarily used to help men who are in the early stages of an enlarged prostate.
However, there has been quite a bit of success in using these drugs to help patients with kidney stones.
Flomax for Kidney Stones
In one trial 78 patients were randomized to either get conventional treatment alone (plenty of water plus the oral anti-inflammatory diclofenac. Many patients also use ibuprofen.) or conventional treatment along with Flomax (tamsulosin) 0.4mg a day for up to 15 days or until they got rid of the stone. Within the treatment group they also compared the size of the stones that the patients were passing.
Long story short, when they gave the kidney stone patients Flomax plus the regular treatment they found that significantly more of the patients were able to pass larger stones (6 to 15 mm in size). Additionally, the overall rate of stone expulsion for the Flomax group was higher than the control group.
Basically, Flomax appears to be a big help in getting rid of kidney stones quicker and is especially helpful in allowing patients to pass larger stones.
Safety in Women
While Flomax was never designed to be used in women it does appear to be pretty safe. However, there is not a lot of data to go off of in this regard.
If there were any side effects reported, the most problematic was low blood pressure. Other possibilities include weakness, dizziness and headache. But, as I’m sure you are aware, the possible risk of these types of side effects may well be worth getting rid of a kidney stone quicker.
I should not that while your question focused on just Flomax the other alpha blockers (doxazosin and terazosin) have been looked at as well. At this point they all appear to be helpful and produced similar rates of kidney stone expulsion. I mention it because if you have a prescription insurance sometimes they have a preferred drug that they will cover and this will give you some more options.
In addition to medication options you may want to look at your diet as a possible culprit in your kidney stones.
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