Earlier this year, tamsulosin, an alpha blocker previously only available on prescription, became available for sale by pharmacists as a treatment for functional symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men aged 45–75 years (Flomax Relief MR – Boehringer Ingelheim). A television advert for the over-the-counter (OTC) product claims that it is a “simple and effective” treatment that can relieve symptoms within 1 week, allowing the user to “take control of your annoying pee problems”.1 Here we review the evidence on tamsulosin and assess whether its availability as an OTC product confers worthwhile advantages.
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