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Study Reiterates Eye Risks Linked to Flomax
Date:5/19/2009

Men should be aware of dangers if taking prostate drug, experts say,,

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Men taking Flomax to treat an enlarged prostate face more than double the risk for serious complications should they need cataract surgery, a new Canadian study has found.

It's not the first time that Flomax (tamsulosin) has been linked to cataract complications. A study in 2005 found that men taking Flomax or other alpha-blockers before cataract surgery had complications during and immediately after the procedure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called for stronger warnings about the drug, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, which makes Flomax, sent warning letters to doctors about the potential problems.

In the new study, 7.5 percent of the men who had taken Flomax in the two weeks before cataract surgery had a serious complication, compared with 2.7 percent of those who had not taken the drug, for a 2.3 times greater risk.

The problems were not found to the same extent among men taking other alpha-blockers, said the lead researcher, Dr. Chaim M. Bell, a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

"Patients that were prescribed tamsulosin had an over twofold increase in their risk of adverse events after cataract surgery," Bell said. The findings are in the May 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Whether stopping the drug before cataract surgery would reduce the risk of complications is not clear, he said. But before taking Flomax, people should be made aware of the risks, including the risk associated with cataract surgery, he said.

In addition, he said, surgeons need to know if a patient is taking Flomax so that the procedure can be adjusted to take the risks into account. "A better system needs to be in place to better identify patients taking F
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