Flomax (generic name: tamsulosin) is prescribed to treat the symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In the US, the name Flomax describes the same drug known as Omnic, Omnic ERV, or Tamsulin in other countries.
What are the Main Features of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
According to the US National Institute of Health, BPH is common among older men, with approximately 25% of men over 40 suffering from Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. The prevalence of this condition rises with age. Symptoms of BPH include difficulty at the start of urination, a weak urine stream, and the need to urinate often or urgently including disturbing normal sleep.
What are the Causes of BPH that Flomax Treats?
BPH is the diagnosis given when an enlarged prostate cannot be attributed to any form of malignancy. While Flomax doesn’t shrink the prostate, it works to relax the muscles in the prostate and the bladder. This helps to relieve symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, which interferes with the outflow of urine from the bladder.
Tamsulosin belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha blockers. Their function is to relax smooth muscles at the neck of the bladder and in the prostate so that urine can flow more easily through the urethra and out.
What are the Most Frequently Recommended Treatments for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
The most common treatments for BPH are:
- Alpha blockers such as Flomax. These medications generally work quickly in men with relatively small prostates.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors that shrink the prostate by preventing hormonal changes that cause prostate growth. These medications might take up to six months to be effective.
- Combination drug therapy where it might be recommended to take an alpha blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor at the same time if either medication alone isn’t effective.
- In cases where the drug therapies may not be advised, surgical intervention offers the following options:
- TURP – transurethral resection of the prostate with removal of all but the outer part of the prostate. TURP generally relieves symptoms quickly, and most men have a stronger urine flow soon after the procedure.
- TUIP – transurethral incision of the prostate with one or two small cuts in the prostate gland . It might be used if there are health problems that make other surgical options too risky.
- TUMT – transurethral microwave thermotherapy using microwave energy from an electrode to destroy the inner portion of the enlarged prostate gland.
- TUNA – transurethral needle ablation using radio waves passing through needles to heat and destroy excess prostate tissue.
- Ablative laser procedures such as PVP (photoselective vaporization of the prostate) and HoLAP (holmium laser ablation of the prostate) which vaporize obstructive prostate tissue.
- PUL – prostatic urethral lift to compress the sides of the prostate. The procedure might be recommended in cases of concern about the treatment’s impact on erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory problems.
- Open prostatectomy is generally done when there is a very large prostate, bladder damage or other complicating factors. The surgery may require a short hospital stay.
- HoLEP – holmium laser enucleation of the prostate to remove the tissue blocking urine flow and preventing regrowth. The removed tissue can be examined for prostate cancer and other conditions.
Are There Any Other Conditions Treated with Flomax?
Flomax may sometimes be prescribed to treat patients with chronic prostatitis and to help with the passage of kidney stones. The benefit with a kidney stone is greater for larger stones.
What is the History of Flomax?
Flomax was first marketed in 1996 and after the U.S. patent expired in October 2009 the FDA approved generics containing tamsulosin. It is marketed by various companies under licence, including under the trade name Omnic by Astellas Pharma Europe of The Netherlands.
How Much Can I Save when Buying Flomax or its Generics?
The following is a sample of the prices charged for Flomax and generic Omnic medications.
|Generic Tamsulin||0.4mg / 30 tablets||$26.53||$22.25|
|Flomax||0.4mg / 30 tablets||$283.91|
++Prices quoted here are current in 2021 based on a survey of online sources, and may be subject to change at any time.
What are the Most Common Side Effects of Flomax?
Research to date has found the medication to be safe and effective for most people. Mild side effects, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, back pain, and blurred vision are sometimes experienced in the early stages of treatment. If these do not clear up within a few days, talk to your pharmacist or the prescribing physician.
If you experience severe or persistent side effects such as an erection that is painful or lasts more than four hours, severe dizziness, or fainting, you should contact your doctor right away.
What Foods Should I Avoid while Taking Flomax?
Grapefruit juice and citrus fruits may intensify adverse side effects of the drug. You should try to limit grapefruit in particular and discuss the best practices with your pharmacist.
Why are Generic Drugs Cheaper than the Brand?
Developing new drugs is a very lengthy and expensive operation. Estimates have ranged from $985 million to as high as $2.8 billion for a single drug. In addition, this outlay is up-front before any revenue from sales. The process takes as much as ten years, with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years on average. And these figures relate only to the successful new drugs – the failure rate is roughly 90%.
After this investment, the pharmaceutical developer of a drug has a twenty year exclusive patent. All of this adds up to a relatively short window in which the original drug can bring sufficient returns to justify the research and development, which necessitates the very high prices for branded drugs. Once it expires, any competing drug can be brought to market without complete three-phase clinical trials, without any risk of failure, and will be on the market within just a few years.
All of this combines to make generic drugs far cheaper to bring to the market, and this is reflected in the difference in price. Bottom line is that the lower price of generics is not any indication of a lower quality but is purely related to the total cost of the generic versions being so much lower than for branded drugs.
Do Generic Drugs Deliver the Same Benefits with the Same Risks as their Brand Equivalents?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic drugs to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug. The generic manufacturer must prove its drug is the same (bioequivalent) as the brand-name drug.
For a comprehensive explanation of the regulations applied by the FDA, you can read the official notices on the FDA website. The following is our summary.
FDA ensures that:
- The active ingredient is the same as that of the brand-name drug
- The active ingredient is effective against the illness or condition it is treating
- Scientific evidence has been submitted that the generic drug’s active ingredient is the same as that of the brand-name medicine they copy
- The generic medicine is the same strength
- The medicine is the same type of product (such as a tablet or an injectable) and has the same route of administration (such as oral or topical)
- The medicine has the same use indications
- Any inactive ingredients in the medicine are acceptable. If there are any differences, it must be shown to have no effect on how the medicine functions
- Evidence must be given that all the ingredients used in the product are acceptable according to FDA regulations
- The medicine lasts for at least the same amount of time as the brand (Generic drug companies must do months-long “stability tests” to show that their products last for at least the same amount of time as the brand-name product).
There are also requirements to ensure that the production of the drug takes place under the same strict standards as the brand-name medicine. These include
- It meets the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
- The manufacturer is capable of making the medicine correctly and consistently
- Each step of the manufacturing process will produce the same result each time. FDA regularly inspects generic drug manufacturer’s facilities to verify that the manufacturer is capable of making the medicine consistently and to check that the information the manufacturer has submitted to FDA is accurate
- The container in which the medicine will be shipped and sold is appropriate.
How Can IsraelPharm Offer Generic Drugs for Lower Prices?
Americans continue to pay the most expensive prescription prices in the world. The United States has no price controls on pharmaceutical products, and companies are able to set their own prices, which mostly ends up with consumers having to pay more than they would have to in other countries.
IsraelPharm sources its prescription medications from countries such as Israel, Turkey, the UK and Canada. These countries have government controlled national health plans which set the same high standards as the USA, but have capped drug prices to consumers.
You can generally save around 50 percent on drug bills when you source from IsraelPharm through our website! There are no hidden taxes, fees, or surcharges. You will pay the cost of your drugs, as listed on our website, and a per-package shipping charge.
There are no currency conversion charges. All prices on our web site are listed in U.S. dollars, and you are billed in U.S. dollars.
We are committed to the highest ethical and professional standards while delivering the best service and prices.