What is Prazosin?
Prazosin is a prescription medication. It comes only as a capsule you take by mouth. The oral capsule is available as the brand-name drug Minipress as well as in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. However, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug in some cases. In addition, this drug may be used as part of combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.
Prazosin oral capsule is used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension. It can be used alone or in combination with other prescription medications to help lower blood pressure. This drug can cause psychotropic effects when abused or used recreationally. its use can cause uncomfortable side effects, from vomiting and lightheadedness to depression and fainting.
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Why is Prazosin Prescribed?
Prazosin is taken with or without other medications to treat hypertension. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. Prazosin belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-blockers. It works by widening and relaxing the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
Hypertension, usually known as high blood pressure, is a common condition and, when not treated, can cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, blood vessels, and other parts of the body.
Damage or harm to these organs may induce heart disease, stroke, a heart attack, heart failure, loss of vision, kidney failure, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet low in salt and fat, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation.
How Does Prazosin Work?
Prazosin works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood can flow more efficiently throughout the body. These effects make it an ideal medication for people with high blood pressure, which could otherwise cause complications like damage to the heart, brain, blood vessels, and kidney when left untreated. Moreover, prazosin is thought to promote better sleep in people with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD by blocking the alpha-1 receptor for norepinephrine, which is a chemical that increases the body’s reaction to stimuli.
A popular “off-label” use for this drug is to treat the sleep disorders associated with PTSD. This condition causes individuals to relive traumatic incidents and suffer nightmares from events they have witnessed or experienced. “Off-label” means the medication has not gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  approval to treat PTSD, but physicians can legally prescribe it or any treatment as long as it meets a patient’s needs. However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  has stated that ” We suggest against prazosin as monotherapy or augmentation therapy for global symptoms of PTSD, based on lack of demonstrated efficacy.”. Moreover, it also found that the drug may not reduce suicidal thoughts in patients who have PTSD.
Common Side Effects of Prazosin
- Lack of energy
- Palpitations (feel like your heart is racing or fluttering)
If these side effects are mild, they may disappear within just a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t disappear, talk to a specialist or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects of Prazosin
Call your physician immediately if you have serious side effects. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Loss of consciousness (this can occur if you stand up too quickly after Sitting or lying down)
- Very fast heartbeat
- An erection lasting more than four hours
- Swelling of your hands and feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions
- Skin rash
- Swelling of the lips, face, or tongue
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Prazosin’s Interactions with other Medications
The oral capsule can interact with other vitamins, medications, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful, or it can prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid any form of interaction, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all vitamins, medications, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how prazosin might interact with something else you’re consuming, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Examples of medications that can cause interactions with this drug are listed below.
Other Blood Pressure Drugs
If you take this drug together with other blood pressure medications, they will decrease your blood pressure even more and may drop it to a dangerously low level. Your doctor can help you avoid this by reducing your prazosin dosage, adding any other blood pressure medications carefully, and then increasing your prazosin dosage slowly. Your doctor may also have you check your blood pressure more often.
Examples of other blood pressure drugs may include:
Erectile Dysfunction Drugs
Erectile dysfunction drugs can lower your blood pressure. Consuming any of these medications with prazosin will lower your blood pressure even further and may drop it to a dangerously low level. Your doctor may choose to adjust your dosage or avoid this combination of drugs.
Examples of erectile dysfunction drugs include:
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Risks of Using Prazosin
- If someone is between the ages of 18 and 60, taking no other medication, or have no other medical conditions, risks and side effects someone more likely to experience includes:
- Drowsiness or dizziness may affect the person’s ability to operate or drive machinery, particularly within the first 24 hours of dosing, when the dose is increased when going from a lying down to a standing position, during hot weather, after exercise, or after drinking alcohol. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- A headache, weakness, lack of energy, nausea, and palpitations may also happen.
- Prazosin may rarely cause syncope (temporary loss of consciousness or fainting), particularly when going from a sitting or lying position to a standing position. These events may occur within 30 to 90 minutes of taking the drug, and the risk of an episode is higher when prazosin is used in combination with another antihypertensive drug or during a dosage increase.
- Sexual dysfunction is uncommon. Rarely, it may cause prolonged erections lasting more than four hours. Seek immediate medical help if this happens.
- This drug may not be suitable for some people, including those with low blood pressure, who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or about to undergo eye surgery.
- Effectiveness and safety in children have not been confirmed.
- Intraoperative floppy iris syndrome has been recognized during cataract surgery in some individuals treated with alpha-1-blockers. Adjustments may need to be made to the surgical procedure because there does not appear to be a benefit of stopping alpha-1-blocker therapy before surgery.
- Prazosin may interact with some other medications, including those that also lower blood pressure or cause dizziness.
- The safety of prazosin in pregnant mothers has not been established. Only use if the potential benefit warrants the risk. Use caution if this drug is used in a breastfeeding woman.
Is Recreational Prazosin Use Dangerous?
Specialists and doctors prescribe prazosin to treat high blood pressure. However, it has been prescribed “off-label” for various conditions not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including congestive heart failure, an enlarged prostate, Raynaud’s disease, and most notably, the sleep-related problems connected with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In fact, this drug has even been prescribed to treat scorpion stings. As with any medication, whether prescription or illegal, prazosin can induce psychotropic effects when abused. Its use can cause uncomfortable side effects, from vomiting and lightheadedness to depression and fainting.
Unlike alcohol or benzodiazepines, prazosin overdose to this drug is not life-threatening. However, the recreational use of prazosin can be dangerous.
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Why is Recreational Prazosin Use Dangerous?
Prazosin use isn’t life-threatening in the way that more potent substances like stimulants and opioids are. Still, it has the capacity to produce concerning side effects. For one, upon first use, this drug can cause the person to experience lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting if they get up too quickly from a lying down position after taking the medication. Also, prazosin can make the person drowsy to the point where operating machinery or driving a car becomes too dangerous.
Prazosin does not pose the addiction potential of sedative drugs such as Ambien, Restoril, and zaleplon (Sonata). However, if enough of this drug is used, it can produce a psychotropic effect. That result is enough to cause users to exceed their dosage to chase the effect that a previous dose produced.
What’s more, any drugs or substance can produce dependence in a user, which the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)  describes as a state in which the body only functions normally when a substance is present. Dependence and tolerance can immediately decline into addiction when a person exhibits compulsive behaviors in seeking the drug. Prazosin is no different.
Get Prazosin Addiction Treatment in New Jersey
Please, do not try to detox from Prazosin on your own. The prescription drug detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up NJ provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our medically-assisted Detox Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
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 FDA – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/017442s041lbl.pdf
 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/MH/ptsd/VADoDPTSDCPGFinal012418.pdf
 NIDA – https://archives.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/tolerance-dependence-addiction-whats-difference