In this post, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about the medication prazosin (also known as Minipress).
Without access to personalized care, anxiety can feel frustrating, even overwhelming. For many people, taking medication is a significant step in allowing them to improve their mental health.
One medication sometimes used to treat anxiety and trauma is prazosin (often known by the brand name Minipress). On this page, we’ve outlined some important information about the drug.
Prazosin is a medication FDA-approved to treat high blood pressure. It may sometimes be used off-label to treat post traumatic stress related nightmares, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), adrenal gland tumor, or Raynaud’s disease.
Prazosin belongs to a class of medications called alpha adrenergic blockers. Medications within this class help relax the blood vessels to improve blood flow in the body. This has a physically calming effect that can potentially help with one’s mental wellbeing.
Prazosin is available in 1 mg, 2 mg, and 5 mg oral tablets. Doctors often start their patients off on a low dose (typically 1 mg once at bedtime) and then may gradually increase the dosage over time, depending on the patients’ needs. This helps the patient’s body get used to the medication and prevent negative reactions associated with taking too much medication too quickly.
It may take some time to begin seeing the full effects of taking prazosin. To ensure that you are getting the full benefits, take your medicine on a consistent basis, per your doctor’s instructions.
Do not stop taking prazosin without talking to your doctor, as stopping the medication too quickly can lead to a negative reaction. When your doctor sees that you are ready to stop taking prazosin, they will gradually lower your dose over several weeks in a process often called “tapering”.
Some common side effects of prazosin include:
Some serious (but uncommon) side effects include:
Call 911 or seek emergency care if you notice any severe side effects.
Any medication can potentially lead to side effects, and a person’s likelihood of having side effects depends on many factors, including age, lifestyle, and the type of medication itself. Side effects may occur because drugs often have broad or poorly targeted effects, or the drug target itself may have many downstream effects on the body.
Prazosin relaxes the blood vessels, increasing blood flow throughout the body. This increased blood flow can have impacts on other parts of the body, manifesting into what we know as side effects.
Many non-serious side effects of mental health medications like prazosin go away after a few weeks as your body gets used to the medication. However, if a side effect persists, is intolerable, or severely hinders your ability to go about your daily life, talk to your doctor, because this might be a sign that the medication is not a good fit.
Genetics can affect your body’s response to medication. Prazosin is mostly broken down in the liver. Sometimes, a person’s genetics can have an impact on their liver function which leads them to metabolize prazosin differently than others.
Some people might be slow metabolizers for prazosin. Being a slow metabolizer means your body will break down the medication more slowly than others, which means the drug sticks around in your body for longer than average and may lead to side effects. For slow metabolizers, a doctor might opt to prescribe a different medication or prescribe a lower dosage. Also, prazosin can also affect the way your body breaks down some other medications.
One way to predict whether you’ll have a positive outcome while taking prazosin is by taking a genetic test to determine what genetic variations you have and how they may affect medication metabolization. Your DNA can help your doctor rule out less suitable medications and make more informed decisions so that you can get better, faster.
If you show signs of an allergic reaction to prazosin (hives, difficulty breathing, rash, swelling), call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Some medications, vitamins, and herbs may interfere with how prazosin works. Make sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you are taking before starting prazosin to avoid negative interactions. For full details, see the FDA’s full list of precautions.
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Fri Dec 03 2021