Prescription drug abuse is a massive problem in the United States.
Considering the opioid epidemic the nation is currently in, more and more people are struggling with addiction to prescription drugs like oxycodone and illicit drugs like heroin. Prazosin abuse is also a concern, as it is a prescription drug that’s been on the market since 1988. Although it’s effective in treating symptoms associated with mental illness, our drug rehab center in Gilman is diving into its side effects and possible potential for abuse.
What is Prazosin Prescribed For?
Prazosin is a class of medications called alpha-blockers, and it is used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat high blood pressure. Other names for prazosin include Minipress, Prazin, and Prazo. They have also found prazosin useful in managing nightmares and other sleep-related issues caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental illness caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, sexual abuse, a nasty accident, war or combat, death threats, or serious injury. PTSD is common in war veterans and can trigger sleep disturbances caused by reliving traumatic experiences in thoughts and nightmares. Many individuals with PTSD have turned to prazosin as an alternative to other sleep aids and sedatives that have a higher potential for abuse and addiction. However, while prazosin can be considered a safer alternative, it doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe.
Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland has lots of experience in treating patients who have developed prescription drug addictions. While the specific prazosin abuse potential is unclear, it’s crucial to use caution when taking any medication. Those who have become addicted to either prescription drugs like oxycodone or illicit drugs like heroin can get help at our facility. We offer medically monitored detox in Illinois for various types of substances that allow patients to recover from withdrawal symptoms safely.
How Does Prazosin Work?
Prazosin works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood can flow more efficiently throughout the body. These effects make it an ideal medication for individuals with high blood pressure, which could otherwise cause complications like damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, and kidney when left untreated. Additionally, prazosin is thought to promote better sleep in people with PTSD by blocking the alpha-1 receptor for norepinephrine, which is a chemical that boosts the body’s reaction to stimuli. However, this drug has been found to be most responsive in select patients with high blood pressure in various studies. One 2016 study found that patients with PTSD and high blood pressure saw more sleep-related results than those with low blood pressure. High blood pressure could be a proxy for prazosin efficacy, limiting the number of patients and its ability to help.1
What Are The Side Effects of Prazosin?
Although prazosin has effectively treated sleep problems related to PTSD, it’s still prescribed “off-label” for conditions. Off-label refers to using a drug for conditions that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For prazosin, off-label uses include an enlarged prostate, congestive heart failure, Raynaud’s disease, and PTSD-related sleep problems. Prazosin may not be as life-threatening as other drugs of abuse like benzodiazepines, opioids, heroin, cocaine, and meth, but this drug is still capable of producing adverse side effects.
Prazosin side effects include:
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Difficulties breathing
- Chest pains
Prazosin abuse is possible and is characterized by using more than the dose prescribed to you. Prazosin users are just as much at risk of suffering from adverse side effects when misusing this medication as they are when using any other drug. Liver disease and different types of damage to the organs and workings of the body can result from misusing any medication. Always be cautious when taking any medications that have been prescribed to you, and avoid taking ones that are not.
If you’ve noticed that a loved one has begun misusing their medications or other kinds of drugs, let us help. Call Banyan Heartland now at 888-280-4763 for more information about our prescription pill addiction treatment and other detox and treatment programs.