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doxazosin mesylate 4 mg tab

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Doxazosin mesylate is used alone or in combination with other classes of antihypertensive agents for the management of hypertension. Doxazosin's efficacy in hypertensive patients appears to be similar to that of other α1-adrenergic blocking agents, thiazide diuretics, β-adrenergic blocking agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and calcium-channel blocking agents. However, in one randomized and double-blind clinical study (the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial [ALLHAT]), doxazosin was shown to be less effective in lowering mean systolic blood pressure (by about 2-3 mm Hg) than chlorthalidone, a thiazide-like diuretic. In order to achieve target blood pressure in hypertensive patients, use of doxazosin required additional hypotensive therapy more frequently than chlorthalidone. In addition, interim analysis (median follow-up: 3.3 years) of this study indicates that use of doxazosin in high-risk (at least 2 risk factors for coronary heart disease) hypertensive patients 55 years of age and older was associated with a higher risk of stroke and incidence of combined cardiovascular disease events (including twice the risk of congestive heart failure) than use of chlorthalidone. Study investigators concluded that such increased risk of congestive heart failure could not have been caused by the relatively small difference in the mean target systolic blood pressure observed in patients receiving doxazosin compared with those receiving chlorthalidone. Therefore, based on these findings, the trial's Data Safety and Monitoring Board recommended that the doxazosin treatment arm be terminated prematurely. The remaining antihypertensive arms (e.g., calcium-channel blockers, ACE enzyme inhibitors, diuretics) and lipid-lowering (pravastatin vs usual care) components of the study subsequently were completed and reported.

Because of established clinical benefits (e.g., reductions in overall mortality and in adverse cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal outcomes), ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, calcium-channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics generally are considered the preferred drugs for the initial management of hypertension in adults. Although in the past α1-blockers such as doxazosin were recommended as one of several classes of first-line antihypertensive therapy or as initial therapy in selected hypertensive patients (e.g., those with symptomatic prostatic hyperplasia), current antihypertensive and urology guidelines no longer recommend α1-blockers as preferred first-line therapy for any patients with hypertension, principally because of negative findings observed in ALLHAT. However, α1-blockers are effective antihypertensive drugs and many experts still consider their use appropriate for the management of resistant hypertension as a component of combination therapy. Therapy with an α1-blocker is most effective when used in combination with a diuretic. Although some experts state that an α1-blocker may be a useful component of antihypertensive treatment regimens in older men with coexisting benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the American Urology Association (AUA) states that monotherapy with these drugs is not optimal in hypertensive patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) or BPH and that such conditions should be managed separately .

The beneficial effects of α1-blockers on blood glucose and lipid concentrations may mitigate some of the adverse metabolic effects of diuretics, and α1-blockers may offer some advantage in patients with underlying lipoprotein disorders (e.g., hypercholesterolemia) or in those with lipoprotein abnormalities induced by other antihypertensive agents (e.g., thiazide diuretics). The possibility that geriatric patients may be more susceptible than younger patients to the postural hypotensive effects of α1-blockers should be considered in the selection of therapy. Blood pressure response to α1-blockers appears to be comparable in white and black patients.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Doxazosin is used to reduce urinary obstruction and relieve associated manifestations in hypertensive or normotensive patients with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy). For patients who can tolerate the potential cardiovascular and other effects of α1-adrenergic blockade, doxazosin can effectively relieve mild to moderate obstructive manifestations (e.g., hesitancy, terminal dribbling of urine, interrupted or weak stream, impaired size and force of stream, sensation of incomplete bladder emptying or straining) and improve urinary flow rates in a substantial proportion of patients and may be a useful alternative to surgery, particularly in those who are awaiting or are unwilling to undergo surgical correction of the hyperplasia (e.g., via transurethral resection of the prostate [TURP]) or who are not candidates for such surgery.

Therapy with α1-blockers appears to be less effective in relieving irritative (e.g., nocturia, daytime frequency, urgency, dysuria) than obstructive symptomatology. In addition, therapy with the drugs generally can be expected to produce less subjective and objective improvement than prostatectomy, and periodic monitoring (e.g., performance of digital rectal examinations, serum creatinine determinations, serum prostate specific antigen [PSA] assays) is indicated in these patients to detect and manage other potential complications of or conditions associated with BPH (e.g., obstructive uropathy, prostatic carcinoma). While symptomatic improvement has been maintained for at least up to 2 years of doxazosin therapy in some patients, the long-term effects of α-blockers on the need for surgery and on the frequency of developing BPH-associated complications such as acute urinary obstruction remain to be established.

Although the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia currently is unclear, age-associated changes in circulating hormones (e.g., androgens, estrogens) appear to be involved; approximately 40% of men have been reported to have clinical evidence of BPH by age 70. Hyperplasia of the prostatic tissue encircling the urethra produces narrowing of the bladder neck and prostatic urethra, leading to both obstructive (e.g., urinary hesitancy, slow/weak stream, straining, incomplete voiding) and irritative (e.g., urinary frequency, urgency, nocturia) manifestations; progressive obstruction of urinary flow eventually may lead to urinary retention and subsequent complications (e.g., urinary tract infection, bladder calculi, hydronephrosis).

In addition to the mechanical component of urethral obstruction caused by the enlarged gland, a dynamic component of obstruction may be prominent in some patients; current evidence suggests that approximately 50% of prostate outflow obstruction is caused by reversible α-adrenergic (principally α1) receptor-mediated contractions of smooth muscle in the prostatic capsule, prostatic adenoma, and bladder neck. While nonselective α-adrenergic blockers such as phenoxybenzamine have been used successfully to treat BPH, such nonselective blockade has been associated with adverse effects such as postural hypotension, dizziness, and tachycardia because blockade of α2-adrenergic receptors interferes with the negative feedback mechanism controlling norepinephrine release from presynaptic nerve terminals. As a result, nonselective α-blocker therapy currently is not recommended for BPH; instead, therapy with selective α1-blockers, which can relieve α1-adrenergic-mediated bladder outflow obstruction, is recommended.

Patients with mildly symptomatic BPH and those with moderate to severe symptoms that are not bothersome (i.e., that do not interfere with daily activities of living) generally should simply be followed rather than actively treated. Active therapy (e.g., drug therapy; minimally invasive therapies such as transurethral microwave heat; surgery such as TURP) should be considered for patients with moderate to severe BPH that is bothersome; the potential benefits and possible risks of various therapeutic options, including watchful waiting, should be discussed with the patient. Although drug therapy usually is not as effective as surgical therapy, it may provide adequate symptomatic relief with fewer and less serious adverse effects compared with surgery. Most experts currently consider therapy with an α1-adrenergic blocker such as doxazosin to be an appropriate option for symptomatic treatment of bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with BPH. With the exception of prazosin (for which there are insufficient data to compare), currently available α1-adrenergic blockers are considered comparably effective. Therapy with an α1-adrenergic blocker generally is more effective in relieving lower urinary tract symptoms than that with a 5α-reductase inhibitor (e.g., finasteride), and 5α-reductase inhibitors are ineffective in patients without prostatic enlargement.

Combination Therapy

Although studies of up to 1 year in duration generally have found combination therapy with an α1-blocker and 5α-reductase inhibitor (e.g., finasteride) to be no more effective than α1-adrenergic blocker monotherapy in providing symptomatic relief of BPH, a long-term (mean follow-up: 4.5 years), double-blind study (Medical Therapy of Prostatic Symptoms [MTOPS]) found that combined therapy with doxazosin (4-8 mg daily) and finasteride (5 mg daily) was more effective than therapy with either drug alone in preventing symptom progression (defined as an increase from baseline of at least 4 points in the American Urological Association [AUA] symptom score, acute urinary retention, urinary incontinence, renal insufficiency, or recurrent urinary tract infection). The percent reduction in the risk of symptom progression (generally manifested as an increase in AUA symptom score) relative to placebo was 34% with finasteride, 39% with doxazosin, and 67% with combination therapy. The risks of long-term acute urinary retention and the need for invasive therapy were reduced by combination therapy and by finasteride monotherapy but not by doxazosin monotherapy. Combination therapy or doxazosin or finasteride monotherapy each were effective in providing improvement in symptom scores, with combination therapy providing greater improvement than either drug alone.

Most experts state that combined therapy with an α1-adrenergic blocker and 5α-reductase inhibitor can be considered for men with bothersome moderate to severe BPH and demonstrable prostatic enlargement, weighing the benefit of preventing progression of BPH with the risks and cost of the combination. Men at risk for BPH progression are most likely to benefit from combination therapy. Although the benefit of combination therapy was not as substantial in men with low baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels compared with those with high baseline values in the MTOPS study, the potential benefit appears to be greatest in those in whom baseline risk of progression generally is high rather than specifically in those with larger prostates or higher PSA levels at baseline.

Adverse effects associated with combined α1-adrenergic blocker and 5α-reductase inhibitor therapy generally reflect the combined toxicity profile of each drug alone, although certain adverse effects (e.g., effects on sexual function and libido, postural hypotension, peripheral edema, dizziness, asthenia, rhinitis) may be more common with combined therapy.

Dosage and Administration


Doxazosin mesylate is administered orally.

The pharmacokinetics and safety were similar with morning or evening dosing of doxazosin conventional (immediate-release) tablets in a limited number of normotensive patients in one study; however, the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) was 11% less with morning dosing, and the time to peak concentration occurred later with evening dosing (5.6 versus 3.5 hours).

Peak plasma concentrations and oral bioavailability are increased by approximately 32 and 18%, respectively, when doxazosin mesylate extended-release tablets (Cardura XL) are administered with food. Therefore, to provide more consistent systemic exposure to the drug, extended-release tablets should be administered with breakfast.

Doxazosin mesylate extended-release tablets should be swallowed intact and should not be chewed, crushed, or broken. Patients should be advised not to become alarmed if they notice a tablet-like substance in their stools; this is normal since the tablet is designed to release the drug slowly from a nonabsorbable shell during passage through the GI tract.


Dosage of doxazosin mesylate is expressed in terms of doxazosin and must be adjusted according to the patient's blood pressure response and tolerance.


Usual Dosage

For the management of hypertension, the usual initial adult dosage of doxazosin conventional (immediate-release) tablets is 1 mg once daily. Because of the risk of postural effects (see Cautions: Postural Effects), it is essential that therapy with the drug not be initiated with higher dosages. Patient response (standing blood pressure) should be assessed 2-6 and 24 hours after the initial dose and any subsequent dosage adjustments. Because postural effects are most likely to occur 2-6 hours after a dose, it is particularly important that the standing blood pressure response be assessed during this period after the first dose and any increases.

If blood pressure is not adequately controlled at a doxazosin dosage of 1 mg daily as conventional tablets, the dosage may be increased to 2 mg once daily in adults; subsequent dosage adjustments can be made by doubling the dose until the desired blood pressure control is achieved, the drug is not tolerated, or a maximum dosage of 16 mg once daily is reached. The manufacturer recommends that dosage increases be made no more frequently than every 2 weeks. Doxazosin dosages exceeding 4 mg daily as conventional tablets are associated with an increased likelihood of excessive postural effects including syncope, dizziness, vertigo, and hypotension, and those exceeding 16 mg daily are not recommended because of the substantial risk of postural effects.

If doxazosin is used for the management of hypertension in children, some experts recommend a usual initial dosage of 1 mg once daily as conventional tablets. Dosage may be increased as necessary to a maximum of 4 mg once daily.

Extended-release doxazosin tablets (Cardura XL) currently are not labeled for use in the management of hypertension.

Blood Pressure Monitoring and Treatment Goals

Careful monitoring of blood pressure during initial titration or subsequent upward adjustment in dosage of doxazosin is recommended.

The goal of hypertension management and prevention is to achieve and maintain optimal control of blood pressure; specific target levels of blood pressure should be individualized based on consideration of multiple factors, including patient age and comorbidities, and the currently available evidence from clinical studies.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

For the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the usual initial adult dosage of doxazosin as conventional (immediate-release) tablets is 1 mg daily, given in the morning or in the evening. Some clinicians state that it is preferable to administer the drug at bedtime to minimize postural effects. Because of the risk of postural effects (see Cautions: Postural Effects), it is essential that therapy with the drug not be initiated with higher dosages.

To achieve the desired improvement in symptoms and urodynamics, subsequent doxazosin dosage as conventional tablets may be increased in a stepwise manner to 2, 4, and 8 mg daily as necessary; it is recommended that each doubling of dosage occur at intervals of not less than 1-2 weeks. Although higher dosages (e.g., 16 mg daily) have been used, maximally tolerable and effective dosages have not been established and the manufacturer and most experts recommend that the dosage for BPH not exceed 8 mg daily as conventional tablets. Blood pressure should be evaluated routinely in patients receiving doxazosin therapy, particularly with initiation of therapy and subsequent dosage adjustment (see Dosage: Hypertension).

In a study demonstrating the combined efficacy of an α1-adrenergic blocker and 5α-reductase inhibitor, doxazosin therapy as conventional tablets was initiated at a dosage of 1 mg daily at bedtime for the first week and then doubled at 1-week intervals until a dosage of 8 mg daily was achieved. In patients who could not tolerate the 8-mg dose, dosage was reduced to 4 mg daily as conventional tablets; those unable to tolerate the 4-mg dose were counted as having discontinued the drug. Finasteride was administered concomitantly at a dosage of 5 mg daily at bedtime.

Alternatively, when extended-release tablets are used for the management of BPH, the usual initial dosage is 4 mg once daily with breakfast. This dosage also should be used initially in patients being switched from conventional tablets. Depending on patient response and tolerability, extended-release dosage may be increased to a maximum of 8 mg once daily with breakfast. If extended-release therapy is interrupted, it should be reinitiated at 4 mg once daily.

Dosage in Renal and Hepatic Impairment

Clinically important alterations in the pharmacokinetics of doxazosin in patients with impaired renal function have not been observed to date, and the manufacturer makes no specific recommendations for modification of dosage in such patients.

The effect of hepatic impairment on the disposition of doxazosin has not been established in controlled clinical studies. However, administration of a single 2-mg dose of doxazosin as conventional tablets to patients with cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class A) resulted in a 40% increase in systemic exposure to the drug. Because doxazosin is eliminated almost entirely by metabolism in the liver, the manufacturer states that the drug should be administered cautiously in patients with hepatic impairment.

Dosage in Geriatric Patients

While the manufacturer makes no specific recommendations for titration of doxazosin dosage in geriatric patients, patients in this age group generally are less tolerant of the postural hypotensive effects of α1-adrenergic blocking agents because of impaired cardiovascular reflexes, and caution should be exercised. Therefore, dosage escalation in elderly hypertensive patients generally should be slower than in younger adults. Clinically important alterations in the pharmacokinetics of the drug in geriatric patients have not been observed to date.


Adverse effects occurring most frequently during doxazosin mesylate therapy for hypertension include dizziness, headache, drowsiness, lack of energy (e.g, lethargy, fatigue), nausea, edema, and rhinitis. In patients receiving the drug for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the most frequent adverse effects are dizziness, headache, fatigue, edema, dyspnea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The frequency of adverse effects in controlled clinical trials generally has been lower in patients receiving doxazosin for BPH than in those receiving the drug for hypertension; however, dosages employed for this condition also generally have been lower than those for hypertension.

While adverse effects occur frequently in patients receiving the drug, most are mild to moderate in severity, and discontinuance of doxazosin secondary to adverse effects was required in only 7% of patients with hypertension during clinical trials. The principal reasons for discontinuance in patients with hypertension were postural effects in 2% of patients and edema, malaise/fatigue, and heart rate disturbance each in about 0.7% of patients. In controlled clinical trials in patients with hypertension, only dizziness (including postural effects), weight gain, somnolence, and malaise/fatigue occurred at rates significantly greater than those for placebo; postural effects and edema appeared to be dose related. Only dizziness, fatigue, hypotension, edema, and dyspnea occurred significantly more frequently with the drug than placebo in controlled clinical trials for BPH; dizziness and dyspnea appeared to be dose-related.

Postural Effects

Doxazosin, like other α1-adrenergic blocking agents, can cause marked hypotension, which may be accompanied by syncope and other postural effects. While syncope is the most severe orthostatic effect of the drug, other less severe symptoms, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo, also can be associated with doxazosin-induced reductions in blood pressure. Syncope is uncommon when doxazosin dosage is initiated at low levels and titrated slowly, but dizziness and/or lightheadedness are frequent, occurring in about 20 or 16% of patients receiving the drug for hypertension or BPH, respectively, in controlled trials. Vertigo has been reported in 2%, syncope in 0.7%, and postural hypotension in 0.3% of hypertensive patients in controlled trials. In patients receiving the drug for BPH in controlled clinical trials, postural hypotension was reported in 0.3% and syncope in 0.5-0.7% of patients.

Doxazosin-induced postural effects are dose related, particularly likely in the upright position following an initial dose, and most likely to develop between 2-6 hours after administration. With continued therapy after careful dosage titration, adaptation of reflex mechanisms to α1-blockade develop and the risk of postural effects generally subsides. However, marked hypotension also can occur with subsequent dosage increases or after therapy is interrupted for more than a few days. In clinical trials in patients with hypertension, postural effects occurred in 23% of patients receiving the drug and required discontinuance in 2% of patients. In clinical trials in patients with BPH receiving doxazosin dosages up to 8 mg daily, discontinuance of the drug for postural effects was required in 3.3% of patients. While the adverse effect profiles of doxazosin and prazosin generally appear to be similar, it has been suggested that postural effects may be less likely with doxazosin in part because of the drug's slower onset of action and reduced affinity for α1-receptors; however, additional study and experience are needed to elucidate the relative risks of postural effects.

The risk of first-dose syncope with α1-adrenergic blocking agents generally can be minimized by initiating therapy at low doses (i.e., 1 mg of doxazosin daily) and lessening the level of salt restriction and avoiding diuretics just prior to initiation of α1-blocker therapy. It is essential that doxazosin therapy not be initiated at dosages exceeding 1 mg daily and that dosage escalation be slow with patient evaluations. In addition, it is important that standing blood pressure be evaluated 2 minutes after standing. If syncope develops, the patient should be placed in the recumbent position and treated supportively as necessary. Patients should be advised to lie or sit down if they develop any postural symptom (e.g., dizziness, vertigo) and to exercise caution upon standing from a sitting or supine position. Patients also should be cautioned to avoid situations, both during the day and through the night, that could result in injury if syncope were to occur. Other antihypertensive therapy should added cautiously in patients receiving doxazosin.

In an early dose-ranging study of the safety and tolerance of doxazosin in several normotensive individuals, two-thirds of these individuals could not tolerate dosages exceeding 2 mg daily because of symptomatic postural hypotension. In other studies in normotensive individuals, approximately 30% of individuals receiving initial doxazosin dosages of 2 mg daily experienced symptomatic hypotension 0.5-6 hours after the dose, and in subsequent trials in hypertensive patients in which doxazosin therapy was initiated at 1 mg daily, postural effects were observed following the initial dose in 4% of patients but were not associated with syncope. In multiple-dose clinical trials in hypertensive patients involving dosage initiation at 1 mg daily and titration every 1-2 weeks, syncope was reported in less than 1% of patients, occurring in no patients at a dosage of 1 mg daily but in 1.2% of those titrated to 16 mg daily. In dose titration trials, the frequency of orthostatic effects could be minimized by initiating therapy at 1 mg daily and titrating dosage no more frequently than every 2 weeks to a maximum of 2.4-8 mg daily. The frequency of orthostatic effects in these titration trials in hypertensive patients was about 12% in those receiving 16 mg of doxazosin once daily, 10% in those receiving 8 mg or more once daily, and 5% in those receiving 1-4 mg once daily. In controlled trials in patients with BPH, the frequency of orthostatic hypotension was not dose related at dosages up to 8 mg daily, titrated at intervals of 1-2 weeks.

Nervous System Effects

Besides dizziness (see Cautions: Postural Effects), headache is the most common adverse nervous system effect associated with doxazosin therapy, occurring in about 14 or 10% of patients receiving the drug for hypertension or BPH, respectively. Somnolence occurs in 5 or 3% of such patients, respectively, and pain in 2% of patients. Nervousness occurs in about 2% of patients receiving doxazosin for hypertension, and insomnia and anxiety occur in 1.2 and 1.1%, respectively, of those receiving the drug for BPH; insomnia occurs in 1% of hypertensive patients. Adverse nervous system effects occurring in 0.5-1% of patients include paresthesia, kinetic disorders, ataxia, hypertonia, hypoesthesia, agitation, depression, and decreased libido. Paresis, tremor, twitching, confusion, migraine, paroniria, amnesia, emotional lability, impaired concentration, abnormal thinking, and depersonalization have been reported in less than 0.5% of patients, but a causal relationship to the drug has not been established.

GI Effects

Nausea, diarrhea, and dry mouth are the most common adverse GI effects of doxazosin in hypertensive patients, occurring in 3, 2, and 2% of such patients, respectively, and abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nausea, and dry mouth are the most common in those with BPH, occurring in 2.4, 2.3, 1.7, 1.5, and 1.4% of such patients, respectively; dyspepsia occurs in 1% of hypertensive patients. Constipation and flatulence occur in 1% of patients receiving the drug for hypertension. Increased appetite, anorexia, fecal incontinence, and gastroenteritis have been reported in less than 0.5% of hypertensive patients but not directly attributed to the drug. Vomiting has been reported during postmarketing experience with doxazosin.

Cardiovascular Effects

Besides postural effects of the drug (see Cautions: Postural Effects), other cardiovascular effects reported in patients receiving doxazosin for hypertension or BPH include edema in 4 or 2.7%, respectively, and palpitation and chest pain in 2 or 1.2% of such patients, respectively. Arrhythmia occurs in 1% of hypertensive patients, and tachycardia and angina pectoris occur in 0.9 and 0.6%, respectively, of patients with BPH. Tachycardia and peripheral ischemia have been reported in 0.3% of hypertensive patients. Hot flushes, ischemia, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, and cerebral vascular accident have been reported in less that 0.5% of hypertensive patients, but a causal relationship has not been established. In addition, bradycardia has been reported with doxazosin during postmarketing experience.

An increased incidence of myocardial necrosis and fibrosis has been observed in Sprague-Dawley rats after 6 months of oral doxazosin dosages of 80 mg/kg daily, and after 12 months of oral dosages of 40 mg/kg daily (AUC exposure in rats was 8 times the human AUC exposure associated with a 12 mg daily dosage). Myocardial fibrosis also was observed in both rats and mice receiving an oral dosage of 40 mg/kg daily for 18 months (AUC exposure in rats was 8 times the human exposure and in mice was somewhat equivalent to the human exposure). No cardiotoxicity was associated with lower dosages (e.g., 10 or 20 mg/kg daily, depending on the study) in either species, and such effects also were not observed following 12 months of administration in dogs receiving maximum oral doxazosin dosages of 20 mg/kg daily nor in Wistar rats receiving maximum oral dosages of 100 mg/kg daily. While the clinical relevance of these findings to human is not known, the manufacturer states that there currently is no evidence that similar lesions occur in humans.

Dermatologic Effects

Adverse dermatologic effects associated with doxazosin include rash, pruritus, and facial edema. In controlled clinical trials, these effects were reported in 1% of hypertensive patients. Pallor, alopecia, dry skin, and eczema have been reported in less than 0.5% of hypertensive patients receiving doxazosin, but a causal relationship to the drug has not been established.

Musculoskeletal Effects

Arthralgia/arthritis, muscle weakness, myalgia, and muscle cramps have been reported in 1% of hypertensive patients receiving doxazosin. Back pain was reported in 1.8% or less than 0.5% of patients receiving the drug for BPH or hypertension, respectively.

Respiratory Effects

Rhinitis occurs in 3% of hypertensive patients receiving doxazosin. Dyspnea occurs in 2.6 or 1% of patients with BPH or hypertension, respectively, and respiratory disorder occurs in 1.1% of those with BPH. Bronchospasm, sinusitis, cough, and pharyngitis have been reported in less than 0.5% of hypertensive patients but not directly attributed to the drug. In addition, aggravated bronchospasm has been reported with doxazosin during postmarketing experience.

Genitourinary Effects

Polyuria occurs in 2% of hypertensive patients receiving doxazosin and urinary incontinence occurs in 1% of such patients. Sexual dysfunction occurred in 2% of hypertensive patients and impotence occurred in 1.1% of those with BPH receiving the drug. Urinary tract infection and dysuria were reported in 1.4 and 0.5%, respectively, of patients with BPH receiving doxazosin, but they occurred less frequently than with placebo. Renal calculus has been reported in less than 0.5% of hypertensive patients, but a causal relationship has not been established. Priapism (painful penile erection sustained for hours and unrelieved by sexual intercourse or masturbation) has been reported rarely (probably less frequently than 1 in several thousand patients) in patients receiving an α1-adrenergic antagonist (e.g., doxazosin). Urinary frequency, nocturia, hematuria, and unspecified micturition disorder have been reported with doxazosin during postmarketing experience.

Ocular and Otic Effects

Visual abnormalities occur in 2 or 1.4% of patients receiving doxazosin for hypertension of BPH, respectively, and conjunctivitis/ocular pain occurs in 1% of hypertensive patients. Tinnitus also occurs in 1% of patients receiving the drug. Photophobia, abnormal lacrimation, and earache have been reported in less than 0.5% of hypertensive patients, but these effects have not been directly attributed to the drug.

Hematologic Effects

Adverse hematologic effects reported with doxazosin include decreased leukocyte and neutrophil counts. Mean reductions in these counts relative to placebo were 2.4 and 1%, respectively, in clinical trials in hypertensive patients. In clinical trials in patients with BPH, clinically important leukocyte abnormalities occurred in 0.4% of patients receiving doxazosin and in 0% of those receiving placebo, but the difference in incidence between these groups was not statistically different. Leukopenia and thrombocytopenia have been reported with doxazosin during postmarketing experience.

A search by the manufacturer of a database that included information on 2400 hypertensive patients and 665 with BPH revealed 4 cases in the hypertensive group and one case in the BPH group in which doxazosin-related neutropenia could not be ruled out. In 2 hypertensive patients, stable, nonprogressive neutropenia of about 1000/mm was observed over periods of 20-40 weeks. In a patient with BPH, the leukocyte count decreased from 4800 to 2700/mm at the end of the study, but there was no evidence of clinical impairment. In cases where follow-up was possible, leukocyte and neutrophil counts returned to normal after discontinuance of doxazosin; no cases of symptomatic reductions have been reported to date. Similar reductions in leukocyte and neutrophil counts have been observed with other α1-adrenergic blocking agents.

Other Adverse Effects

Sweating has been reported in 1.1 or 0.5-1% of patients receiving doxazosin for BPH or hypertension, respectively, and flu-like symptoms have been reported in 1.1 or less than 0.5% of such patients, respectively. Weight gain has been reported in 0.5-1% of hypertensive patients receiving the drug and thirst, gout, hypokalemia, lymphadenopathy, purpura, breast pain, taste perversion, parosmia, infection, fever/rigors, and weight loss have been reported in less than 0.5% of patients. In addition, gynecomastia, hepatitis, and cholestatic hepatitis have been reported with doxazosin during postmarketing experience.

Precautions and Contraindications

Patients should be warned of the possibility of doxazosin-induced postural dizziness and measures to take if it develops (e.g., sitting, lying down).(See Cautions: Postural Effects.) During initiation of doxazosin therapy, the patient should be cautioned to avoid situations, both day and night, where injury could result if syncope occurs. If syncope occurs, the patient should be placed in the recumbent position and treated supportively as necessary. Patients who engage in potentially hazardous activities such as operating machinery or driving motor vehicles should be warned about possible drowsiness, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

Patients also should be advised that priapism has been reported rarely in patients receiving an α1-adrenergic antagonist (e.g., doxazosin). Priapism is a medical emergency that could result in penile tissue damage and permanent loss of potency if not treated immediately; therefore, patients should be advised to report promptly to their clinician or, if their clinician is unavailable, to seek alternative immediate medical attention if an erection occurs that persists longer than several (e.g., 4-6) hours or is painful.

Experience to date with doxazosin under controlled conditions is limited to patients with normal liver function. However, because the drug is almost completely metabolized in the liver, particular caution should be exercised when using doxazosin in patients with impaired liver function or who are receiving other agents (e.g., cimetidine) that could influence hepatic clearance of the drug.

The possibility of carcinoma of the prostate and other conditions associated with manifestations that mimic those of BPH should be excluded in any patient for whom doxazosin therapy for presumed BPH is being considered. No evidence of an effect on plasma concentrations of prostate specific antigen (PSA) has been observed in patients treated with doxazosin for up to 3 years.

Doxazosin is contraindicated in patients with known sensitivity to the drug or any other quinazoline derivative (e.g., prazosin, terazosin).

Pediatric Precautions

The manufacturer states that safety and efficacy of doxazosin in children younger than 18 years of age have not been established.

Geriatric Precautions

Geriatric patients may be particularly susceptible to postural effects of α1-adrenergic blocking agents such as doxazosin.(See Dosage and Administration: Dosage.) The manufacturer states that certain pharmacokinetic parameters (i.e., plasma half-life, oral clearance) were similar for geriatric individuals 65 years of age or older compared with younger adults. In addition, safety and efficacy of the drug in patients with BPH were similar in those 65 years of age or older compared with younger patients. Clinical studies of doxazosin in patients with hypertension did not include sufficient numbers of patients 65 years of age and older to determine whether geriatric patients respond differently than younger patients. While other clinical experience has not revealed age-related differences in response, drug dosage generally should be titrated carefully in geriatric patients, usually initiating therapy at the low end of the dosage range. The greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, and/or cardiac function and of concomitant disease and drug therapy observed in the elderly also should be considered.

Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity

The manufacturer states that there was no evidence of mutagenicity associated with doxazosin or its metabolites at the chromosomal or subchromosomal level in mutagenicity studies.

No evidence of carcinogenicity was seen in rats receiving the maximally tolerated oral doxazosin dosage of 40 mg/kg daily (8 times the human AUC exposure) for up to 24 months. There also was no evidence of carcinogenicity in a similarly conducted study in mice receiving oral doxazosin for up to 18 months; however, the relevance, if any, of the findings of this study in mice is unclear since the maximally tolerated dosage was not employed.

Pregnancy, Fertility, and Lactation


Reproduction studies in rabbits and rats using doxazosin dosages up to 41 and 20 mg/kg daily (plasma concentrations 10 and 4 times the peak plasma concentration and AUC exposures of humans receiving a dosage of 12 mg daily) have not revealed evidence of harm to the fetus. Postnatal development (weight gain, anatomical features, reflexes) was delayed in some offspring of rats given maternal oral doxazosin dosages of 40-50 mg/kg daily, and decreased fetal survival was associated with dosages of 82 mg/kg daily (in rabbits). There are no adequate and controlled studies to date using doxazosin in pregnant women, and the drug should be used during pregnancy only when clearly needed.


Reproduction studies in male rats using oral doxazosin dosages of 20 mg/kg daily demonstrated a reversible decrease in fertility; however, oral dosages of 10 mg/kg or less daily were not associated with impaired fertility. There have been no reports of adverse effects of the drug on fertility in men.


Since it is not known whether doxazosin is distributed into human milk, the drug should be used with caution in nursing women. Accumulation of the drug has been observed in the milk of lactating rats given a single 1-mg/kg oral dose; in these rats, concentrations of radiolabeled doxazosin in milk were about 20 times greater than those in maternal plasma.

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