If you have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), your body may
release too much adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that can make you feel
stressed and have nightmares.
Prazosin blocks some of the effects
of adrenaline released in your body. This may help reduce the nightmares and
sleep problems you have with PTSD.
By keeping you from having nightmares,
prazosin may help you get better sleep. With better sleep, you can feel
healthier and more alert. This may help lower your stress and help you feel
more in control of your life.
Research shows that prazosin may
help reduce nightmares, one of the symptoms of PTSD.1
More research is needed to confirm its effectiveness for treating PTSD.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Since prazosin is more commonly
high blood pressure, your doctor may want to look into
its benefits for PTSD.
Prazosin may help reduce your nightmares,
but it is not a cure for PTSD. Nightmares and anxiety may come back if you stop
taking your medicine.
Prazosin lowers blood pressure
(hypotension), which can make you feel dizzy. This usually stops when your body
is used to prazosin. Be careful not to stand up too fast, especially if your
dose has just been changed.
Erection drugs like Viagra also can
lower your blood pressure. If you're taking erection drugs along with prazosin,
your blood pressure may drop very fast. Tell your doctor if you're taking drugs
for erection problems.
Prazosin can be taken safely with other
PTSD medicines, such as antidepressants, but not with trazodone. Taking
prazosin with trazodone can cause the rare side effect of priapism. This is an
erection that doesn't go away, which can cause serious health problems.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Women who use this medicine during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of using this medicine against the risks of not treating your condition.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Van Liempt S, et al. (2006). Pharmacotherapeutic treatment of nightmares and insomnia in posttraumatic stress disorder: An overview of the literature. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071: 502–507.
January 9, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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