Prazosin (trade names Minipress, Vasoflex, Lentopres, and Hypovase) is a selective α-1-adrenergic receptor antagonist used to treat hypertension. Prazosin acts by inhibiting the postsynaptic alpha-1-adrenoceptors on vascular smooth muscle. This inhibits the vasoconstrictor effect of circulating and locally released catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), resulting in peripheral vasodilation. Prazosin is orally active and has a minimal effect on cardiac function due to its alpha-1 receptor selectivity. However, when prazosin is started, heart rate and contractility go up in order to maintain the pre-treatment blood pressures because the body has reached homeostasis at its abnormally high blood pressure. The blood pressure lowering effect becomes apparent when prazosin is taken for longer periods of time. The heart rate and contractility go back down over time and blood pressure decreases. The antihypertensive characteristics of prazosin make it a second-line choice for the treatment of high blood pressure. Prazosin is also useful in treating urinary hesitancy associated with prostatic hyperplasia, blocking alpha-1 receptors, which control constriction of both the prostate and urethra. Although not a first line choice for either hypertension or prostatic hyperplasia, it is a choice for patients who present with both problems concomitantly. Common (4–10% frequency) side effects of prazosin include dizziness, headache, drowsiness, lack of energy, weakness, palpitations, and nausea. Less frequent (1–4%) side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, edema, orthostatic hypotension, dyspnea, syncope, vertigo, depression, nervousness, and rash. NCATS
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