Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional. Brands and generics both contain the same active ingredient(s) and are medically equivalent. Some brands are marketed under different names by the same manufacturing country depending on the country of origin.
Doxacard (doxazosin) is an alpha-blocker primarily used to lower high blood pressure and to facilitate urination in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as an enlarged prostate.
The medication accomplishes both of these actions by relaxing the smooth muscles around blood vessels and the urethra, allowing blood and urine to flow more easily.
The improved blood flow from Doxacard has led to off-label use in treating erectile dysfunction. The medication is also used off-label to reduce the frequency and severity of nightmares and night terrors, though the mechanism by which it works in these latter applications is unclear.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition in these modern times, but can lead to very serious---even fatal---complications. Doxacard is an effective treatment but for some patients it will not be enough on its own; other anti-hypertension medications, such as a diuretic, may also be prescribed.
Studies suggest that Doxacard is most effective at reducing incidence of stroke, though it also had a favorable impact on reducing heart attacks. It is roughly the same as other anti-hypertension treatments in mitigating kidney damage and other complications of high blood pressure.
Treatment starts similarly in the vast majority of patients but the end result should be individualized:
It takes about two weeks of regular treatment for full effects to be seen, hence the wait time before dosage adjustments.
Lifestyle changes are usually recommended along with Doxacard, including:
If adhered to, lifestyle changes will allow most patients to eventually stop taking blood pressure medications. Unfortunately it does not work for all patients, and Doxacard may be needed for the remainder of life.
Patients taking Doxacard for BPH should be aware that the medication only helps facilitate urination; it will not reduce prostate size or otherwise impact the condition. It is common for other treatments that more directly address prostate size to be given along with Doxacard.
Also note that this medication is not needed if urination is not impaired; some men, despite having very large prostates, do not develop urination difficulties. The medication will provide no benefit if urination is not impaired.
Treatment is typically:
Treatment may continue for as long as needed. If taking Doxacard for BPH, blood pressure will also be lowered; men with preexisting low pressure may want to consider alternative products.
For erectile dysfunction, nightmares, night terrors, and other off-label uses doctor instructions should be followed. Off-label use is legal provided a doctor prescribes the medication, but as it's not approved there are no official dosing guidelines.
Patients who use Doxacard off-label---and some BPH patients as well---often use the extended-release version of the product. The extended-release version is not recommended in hypertension.
The most common side effects associated with Doxacard are from lowered blood pressure, and may be experienced even if blood pressure drops from high to normal; it does not necessarily mean blood pressure is dangerously low. Symptoms include:
The above symptoms usually stop occurring over time as the body adjusts to its new blood pressure.
Other side effects include:
The above side effects aren't cause for concern unless they become severe enough to be disruptive. These also typically stop occurring as the body adjusts to treatment.
More serious side effects from Doxacard are quite rare, but warrant immediate medical attention:
Extra precautions may be advisable if undergoing cataract surgery while taking Doxacard, to ensure prevention of Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS). Be sure doctors are notified that the medication is being taken prior to any procedures.