Prazosin Side Effects

What is Prazosin?

Prazosin (brand name is Minipress) is a prescription medication used to manage and treat hypertension, hyperplasia (increased cell production in normal tissue or organ), benign prostatic (prostate enlargement), PTSD-associated nightmares, and the Raynaud phenomenon. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) [1], Prazosin is in a class of medications called alpha-blockers. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body. Prazosin comes only as a capsule you take by mouth.

Prazosin abuse has been a growing concern, it has been a prescription drug on the market for more than 20 years. Its use can cause uncomfortable Prazosin side effects, from lightheadedness and vomiting to fainting and depression. Although it may effectively treat symptoms associated with mental conditions such as PTSD, we are diving into its side effects and possible abuse. If enough of this prescription medication is taken, it can produce a psychotropic effect. That result is enough to cause users to exceed their dosage to chase the same effect. Tolerance and dependence can immediately decline into addiction when someone exhibits compulsive behaviors in seeking the drug. Prazosin is no different.

Prazosin Side Effects
One phenomenon associated with Prazosin is known as the “first dose response”, in which the Prazosin side effects – specifically orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, and drowsiness – are especially pronounced in the first dose.

Prazosin Side Effects

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [2], Prazosin may have effectively treated sleep problems related to a post-traumatic sleep disorder or PTSD. However, it’s still prescribed “off-label” for conditions. Off-label refers to using a drug for conditions that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder with symptoms that include insomnia due to hyperarousal and recurring nightmares. PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that impacts a large percentage of the US population, in particular, veterans.

There have been reports that Prazosin, a commonly prescribed off-label drug, could be making suicidal thoughts worse for veterans suffering from PTSD [3]. A team of researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking to collect more evidence, set out to study the sustained effectiveness of the treatment. They organized a large, lengthy, multisite trial—the most rigorous type of trial. Prazosin was no better than a placebo. According to The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [4], for nightmares associated with PTSD, there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of Prazosin as mono- or augmentation therapy.

For Prazosin, off-label uses include an enlarged prostate, congestive heart failure, Raynaud’s disease, and PTSD-related sleep problems. Prazosin may not be as life-threatening as other drugs of abuse like benzodiazepines, opioids, heroin, cocaine, and meth, but this drug is still capable of producing adverse side effects.

Prazosin side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Chest pains

Serious Prazosin Side Effects

Call your physician immediately if you have serious Prazosin side effects. Serious Prazosin 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
  • Depression
  • An erection lasting more than four hours
  • Swelling of your hands and feet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Allergic reactions
  • Hives
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling of the lips, face, or tongue

Dangers of Recreational Prazosin Use

Prazosin use isn’t life-threatening in the way that more potent substances like stimulants and opioids are. However, the recreational use of this drug can be dangerous. It has the capacity to produce concerning Prazosin side effects.

Prazosin Side Effects
Insomnia and hallucinations are listed as some of the rare Prazosin side effects by the manufacturer. This drug could be associated with rare psychiatric adverse effects and sleep disturbances.

For one, upon first use, Prazosin can cause someone to experience lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting if they get up too quickly from a lying-down position after taking the medication. Also, this drug 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.

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 Prazosin side effects someone more likely to experience includes:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness, which is a common Prazosin side effects, 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 be a Prazosin side effects .
  • 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 Prazosin side effects. Rarely, it may cause prolonged erections lasting more than four hours. Seek immediate medical help if this Prazosin side effects 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.
  • Prazosin may interact with some other medications and this may cause an adverse Prtazosin side effects, including those that also lower blood pressure or cause dizziness.
  • Clinicians should be aware that there is a rare risk of priapism with prazosin, so, theoretically, there may be a greater than usual risk when combining trazodone and prazosin. Patients should be warned to pay attention to this possible Prazosin side effect.
  • Minipress (prazosin) lowers blood pressure, but isn’t a first choice for treating high blood pressure (hypertension) due to prazosin side effects.
  • Not preferred for older people due to more chance of prazosin side effects
  • 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.

Prazosin Shows Promise for Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many reasons why someone drinks, and one of them is alcohol withdrawal. The withdrawal state causes anxiety, negative mood, and cravings, and these kinds of symptoms lead someone to turn to alcohol once more. More serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from hallucinations about 12 to 24 hours after that last drink to seizures within the first two days after the person stops drinking. That isn’t the same as delirium tremens, or DTs as you’re likely to hear them called. DTs usually start 48 to 72 hours after you put down the glass. These are severe symptoms that include vivid hallucinations and delusions. 

Study results revealed that the α-1 adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin might reduce the likelihood of heavy drinking and the number of drinks each week over time, but not the number of drinking days per week. Therefore, these findings indicated that Prazosin shows potential as a harm-reduction pharmacologic treatment for alcohol use disorder rather than as a full-abstinence approach.

Evidence suggests that elevated brain noradrenergic activity appears to be involved in the initiation and maintenance of alcohol use disorder. In human alcohol use disorder studies, Prazosin has been shown to reduce reactivity to stress and to result in reduced craving, reduced drinks per week, and reduced drinking days per week.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) [5], There may be a benefit to introducing Prazosin during early drinking experiences. Prazosin slowed the acquisition of alcohol drinking and reduced the amount of alcohol consumed when administered prior to, or concomitantly with, the first opportunity to drink in rats genetically predisposed toward high alcohol intake. 

Yale University [6] researchers report in the American Journal of Psychiatry has shown that stress centers of the brain are severely disrupted early in recovery, especially for those with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and high cravings, but that the disruption decreases the longer the person maintains sobriety. Prazosin could help bridge that gap by moderating cravings and withdrawal symptoms earlier in recovery and increasing the chances that alcoholics refrain from drinking.

Who Has an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Problem drinking described as severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) [7], an estimated 15 million individuals in the United States have AUD. 14.4 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older have an AUD, including 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. AUD is a chronic relapsing addiction previously called alcoholism. AUD is characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.

To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet specific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM criteria). Using the DSM–5, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives an AUD diagnosis. The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.

Find the Right Treatment Plan at We Level Up NJ

We level Up NJ is offering exceptional evidence-based recovery treatment programs. The combinations of therapies applied for each client are tailored to their individualized needs in treating drug dependency and alcohol abuse. We provide cutting-edge full-service rehabilitation care, including residential inpatient, medically assisted detox to drugs, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring mental health therapy. Treatment services vary by facility

Prazosin may not be as life-threatening as other drugs of abuse, but this drug is still capable of producing adverse Prazosin side effects. The prescription drug detox process can be uncomfortable 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.

Prazosin Side Effects
Are you experiencing Prazosin side effects due to addiction? Call us now!


[1] NIH –

[2] NCBI –

[3] WZTV –

[4] The Department of Veterans Affairs –

[5] NCBI –

[6] Yale University –

[7] NIAAA –