Selective alpha-1 blocker

Alpha-1 blockers (also called alpha-adrenergic blocking agents) constitute a variety of drugs that block α1-adrenergic receptors in arteries, smooth muscles and central nervous system tissues.


The blockade or reduction of epinephrine and norepinephrine binding on alpha adrenoreceptors reduce arteriolar resistance and increase venous capacitance causes reflex tachycardia. Depending on plasma concentration they may cause postural hypotension. Alpha-1 blockers may decrease LDL and triglycerides and increase HDL.


These drugs may be used to treat:

Examples of alpha blockers

Selective Alpha-1 blockers
Blocker Use Common Brand Name
Doxazosin[2] Hypertension and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (Cardura)
Silodosin Benign prostatic hyperplasia (Rapaflo)
Prazosin Hypertension (Minipress)
Tamsulosin Benign prostatic hyperplasia (Flomax)
Alfuzosin Benign prostatic hyperplasia (Uroxatral)
Terazosin Hypertension and BPH (Hytrin)

Others include:

Non-selective Adrenergic blockers:

Silodosin shows high affinity and selectivity for α1A adrenergic receptors found in the prostate which ensures that it works quickly and effectively to relieve the symptoms of BPH. Silodosin's low affinity for α1B receptors in the blood vessels is thought to be reflected in its low incidence of orthostatic and vasodilatory side effects.[3]

Tamsulosin is relatively selective for α1a-adrenergic receptors, which are mainly present in the prostate. Hence, it may have a more selective action in BPH with minimal effects on blood pressure.

Adverse effects and interactions

By reducing α1-adrenergic activity of the blood vessels, these drugs may cause hypotension (low blood pressure) and interrupt the baroreflex response. In doing so, they may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising from a lying or sitting posture (known as orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension). For this reason, it is generally recommended that alpha blockers should be taken at bedtime. Additionally, the risk of first dose phenomenon may be reduced by starting at a low dose and titrating upwards as needed.

Because these medications may cause orthostatic hypotension, as well as hypotension in general, these agents may interact with other medications that increase risk for hypotension, such as other antihypertensives and vasodilators.

As discussed above, tamsulosin may have less risk for hypotension and orthostatic hypotension due to its selectivity for α1a-adrenergic receptors. On the other hand, the drug (a) elevates risk for floppy iris syndrome, and (b) might show adverse drug reactions (ADRs) characteristic of the sulfa related drugs.


External links

  • DrugDigest - Alpha blockers
  • - Tamsulosin
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

de:Alphablocker es:Bloqueador alfa 1 fr:Alpha-bloquant it:Alfa bloccante he:חוסמי אלפא ja:交感神経α受容体遮断薬

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