An enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can cause irritating and painful symptoms in men over the age of 40. It can result in lower urinary tract issues, including:
- Urgency to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Weak stream
- Incomplete bladder emptying
An enlarged prostate can affect quality of life, including the ability to participate in regular physical and social activities. Waking up restlessly with the need to urinate can disrupt sleeping patterns and lead to irritation, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. A urine test, digital rectal exam, ultrasound and/or a PSA test can determine the size of your prostate and protein levels, but your physician will need you to monitor your symptoms to determine frequency of urination. Treatment can include medications such as Flomax, and in severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
What is Flomax?
Flomax, or the generic Tamsulosin, belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha blockers. It is prescribed by physicians for men who are diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. Although Flomax will not shrink the size of the prostate, this medication relaxes the muscles in the prostate, bladder neck, and arterioles, and helps improve urinary flow. Most people notice an improvement within the first week of taking the medication as directed.
Medicare Part D Can Help
Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage can help you lower your out-of-pocket costs for medications you need to improve or maintain your health, such as Flomax. When you are eligible for Medicare, you have options. You can choose to get your Medicare benefits through Original Medicare, the federal program that administers your Part A and/or Part B benefits, or you can choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan offered by private insurance companies to provide your Part A and Part B coverage.
While Original Medicare does cover many costs, Part A and Part B do not help cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many Medicare recipients who choose Original Medicare enroll in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, but many provide additional benefits, including prescription drug coverage, sometimes referred to as MA-PD plans. Each PDP and MA-PD will have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs, and prices will vary between plans. Plans will have tiers of pricing for brand name (such as Flomax), generic (such as Tamsulosin), or the use of mail order pharmacies. Depending on the plan you join, you may have to get your prescriptions from a specific network of pharmacies.