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Flomax Can Complicate Cataract Surgery

Q. My husband took Flomax for a prostate problem. Recently he needed cataract surgery. Who knew that Flomax would cause complications?

Not only was the surgery very painful, but I have heard that some surgeons won’t operate on a man who has taken Flomax. It has been three weeks since the surgery and he still cannot see very well. The doctor said it would be at least five or six weeks before he can judge the success of the cataract procedure. Please alert other men to this problem.

A. Flomax (tamsulosin) relieves prostate problems by helping smooth muscle relax and improving urine flow. In 2005, ophthalmologists reported that patients taking Flomax sometimes developed a complication known as small pupil or intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS) during cataract surgery. It appears to be caused by excessive smooth muscle relaxation in the iris itself in reaction to Flomax.

In some cases, men were taking Flomax at the time of surgery, but in at least one documented case the man had stopped the drug a year before his cataract operation. Forestalling this complication requires special equipment and surgical techniques. Cataract surgeons should always be notified that a patient has taken Flomax so they can plan accordingly.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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