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What is Cardura (Doxazosin Mesylate)?

Cardura is an oral medication composed of Doxazosin Mesylate. Doxazosin belongs to the class of alpha-1 adrenergic blockers. It is indicated for hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure creates a workload on the arteries and the heart, and if ignored, it can damage blood vessels in the brain, heart, and kidneys. This increases the risk of stroke, heart and kidney failure. Cardura is also indicated for benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, also known as enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate may cause difficulty with the flow of urine, increase the urgency to urinate, and creates a weak stream.

How does Cardura work?

Cardura relaxes the blood vessels when indicated for hypertension, making blood flow easier and lowering blood pressure.

When indicated for benign prostate hyperplasia- Cardura relaxes the muscles in the prostate and some parts of the bladder. This relieves symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia, including difficulty initiating a urine flow, increased urge to urinate, and a weak stream. These problems are common in men as they age. The prostate gland is positioned below the bladder. When some of its muscles are enlarged, the tube that drains urine gets obstructed. This can create a feeling of an incompletely emptied bladder. In addition, doxazosin does not shrink the prostate.


Cardura is available in the following dosages:

  • 1mg
  • 2mg
  • 4mg
  • 8mg

Extended-release tablets come in the following doses: 4mg and 8mg

The recommended dose for benign prostatic hyperplasia is 1mg daily and can be taken in the morning or the evening. The maximum recommended daily dose for benign prostatic hyperplasia is 8mg daily. The extended-release 4mg tablet can be recommended for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

For hypertension, 1mg daily is given at first. The maximum recommended daily dose for hypertension is 16mg based on the blood pressure feedback. You may be asked to monitor your blood pressure for 6 hours after taking your first dose.

For geriatric patients with hypertension, 0.5mg once daily dose is recommended.

How to take Cardura?

Cardura should be taken as prescribed.

Take Cardura with a glass of water at the same time every day. Cardura can be taken in the morning or the evening. You can take Cardura with or without food.

The usual dose is 1mg daily at first. However, you may be asked to increase this dose by your doctor after some weeks.

You must continue taking your tablets regularly, as advised by your doctor.

Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew or crush.

When taking Cardura for high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you about your lifestyle and diet changes. This can include regular exercise and consuming fewer foods that are high in sodium. This may also include lipid and diabetes management and smoking cessation. In addition, for hypertension, your doctor may advise you to take Cardura with other anti-hypertensive medication to achieve optimal blood pressure control. However, hypertension has no symptoms in most cases, so keep taking Cardura as your doctor prescribes, even if you feel well.

For those taking Cardura for benign prostatic hyperplasia, it may take up to 2 weeks before you notice an improvement in your symptoms.

How to store Cardura?

Store Cardura at room temperature, away from heat and moisture. Do not store Cardura in the bathroom and keep it out of reach of children.


Symptoms of overdosing include:

  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • fainting

Overdosage could lead to hypotension or low blood pressure. If you start experiencing symptoms of passing out or difficulty breathing, contact the poison control center or call 911 for immediate medical assistance.

Side effects

Signs of an allergic reaction to the active ingredient of Cardura or any of its excipients include skin rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. Seek immediate medical attention in such instances.

Common side effects of Cardura include:

  • Hypotension
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • The feeling of tiredness and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lower limb edema and swelling of the fingers
  • Vertigo
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever, nasal blockage, and coughing
  • Heartburn, stomach discomfort, and indigestion
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased urge to urinate, urinary tract infection, and cystitis

Less common side effects of Cardura include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Lower back pain, joint or muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and gastroenteritis
  • Painful urination or blood in the urine
  • Sleep disturbance, agitation, tremor, and anxiety
  • Change in appetite and weight
  • Nose bleeds
  • Skin rash
  • Stroke
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Deranged liver tests

Consult your healthcare practitioner if you notice any of these side effects.

Serious side effects

You should stop taking Cardura and seek out immediate medical attention if you start to experience any of the following:

  • Heart attack
  • Weakness in your upper and lower limbs and difficulty speaking. These could be signs of a stroke.


  • Cataract surgery- Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) has been noted during cataract surgery in patients currently or previously on alpha 1 androgenic blocker. You should inform your eye doctor/ surgeon of any medication you are presently on or if you used to take Cardura or other medicines of the same class. Then, they would be able to make the necessary modifications during surgery.
  • Prostate cancer- Benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer often co-exist; therefore, prostate cancer should be ruled out before treating benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms.
  • Priapism- Doxazosin and drugs of the same class have been associated with painful and prolonged penile erection, not relieved by intercourse. If this happens, it must be treated immediately. If not, it may lead to permanent impotence.


Do not take Cardura if you have a hypersensitivity or allergy to doxazosin or medicines that belong to the same class.

The active ingredient in Cardura may cause a drop in blood pressure resulting in fainting or dizziness, usually 2 to 6 hours after taking it. This incidental risk is higher when you start this treatment or after your doctor increases your dose. You should avoid situations where you may get injured if you faint and monitor your blood pressure regularly using a blood pressure monitor. You may be recommended to take the first dose of Cardura at night to avoid such injuries. This will be ideal if your Cardura dose increases or if you resume taking it after you have stopped it or skipped some doses. You may feel dizzy when you wake up or stand from a lying position. Avoid standing for long or staying in high temperatures to reduce your chances of dizziness.

Alcohol or cannabis use may also make you dizzy; therefore, alcohol consumption should be limited when on Cardura. If you use cannabis and have been prescribed Cardura, speak to your doctor.

Cardura can affect your alertness; therefore, refrain from using machinery or driving until you feel you can do it safely.

Before undergoing surgery, advise your doctor or dentist that you take Cardura or if you have ever taken it.

While on Cardura, you may need to check your prostate regularly to monitor your progress and identify any relevant side effects.

If you stop taking Cardura for whatever reason and need to start retaking it, speak to your doctor before you do so, as you may need an adjustment in the initial dose.

Having gastrointestinal blockage may increase the side effects of doxazosin.

If you suffer from kidney disease, you may have increased sensitivity to the effects of Cardura.

If you suffer from liver disease, you may experience heightened side effects from doxazosin.

You should not take Cardura if you are nursing.

Before taking Cardura, discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be.

Cardura should not be taken by anyone under the age of 18 years.

Drug Interactions

The following are some medications that may interact with doxazosin:

  • Nefazodone- used to treat depression
  • Indinavir, Ritonavir, nelfinavir- used in the treatment of HIV
  • Clarithromycin, Telithromycin- Used to treat bacterial infections
  • Ketoconazole, Itraconazole- Used to treat fungal infections
  • Sildenafil, Tadalafil, and Vardenafil-used to treat erectile dysfunction
  • Beta-blockers like timolol and propranolol- Used to treat your heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • Nifedipine-used to treat hypertension and angina

Any medication used to treat elevated blood pressure may interact with or heighten the side effects of doxazosin.

Some cough and cold remedies can raise your blood pressure, as well as NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen.

Advise your doctor of any prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal remedies you take.


The active ingredient found in Cardura is contraindicated in adults with:

  • A known allergy or hypersensitivity to the doxazosin, any of the drugs belonging to the same class, or any of the excipients found in Cardura
  • Hypotension
  • Blockage of the upper urinary tract, chronic urinary tract infection, and bladder stones
  • Severe hepatic impairment

Before starting Cardura, you should inform your doctor if you have a history of heart conditions like congestive heart failure or heart attack in the past six months. You should also tell your doctor if you suffer from liver diseases and some eye problems, particularly glaucoma and cataracts.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are taking Cardura for benign prostatic hyperplasia, you may start experiencing an increase in urine flow within one week after starting this medication. If you are taking Cardura for elevated blood pressure, you may notice a drop in blood pressure within six hours of taking your dose. This is subjective to each individual and their compliance.

Depending on the reason you started Cardura, you may notice a difference in your blood pressure (if taken for hypertension) and an increased urine flow (if taken for benign prostatic hyperplasia).

If you realize you skipped a dose, take it as soon as you are aware. However, if your next dose is due soon, skip the missed one and continue as prescribed. Do not take more than prescribed to make up for the missed one.

Depending on the reason for which you started Cardura, you may begin to experience elevated blood pressure or difficulty with urination. If you realize you missed your dose for a couple of days, speak to your doctor before you resume taking Cardura.

Smoking can be counterproductive if you take Cardura to control your blood pressure. Speak to your doctor about this and explore smoking cessation options.

If you are taking Cardura to help lower your blood pressure, you should consider reducing your consumption of high-sodium foods and increasing your physical activity levels. Controlling blood sugar and lipid levels also contribute to lowered blood pressure, alongside Cardura, when prescribed by your doctor.

Some patients will require more than one medication to control their elevated blood pressure. Speak to your doctor about other available options.

Before starting Cardura, it would be ideal to know how to monitor your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor. You can purchase a blood pressure monitor and your doctor or pharmacist can help you with interpreting the results.

Your doctor should be consulted before stopping Cardura, and together you will discuss the risk and benefits of taking such medication given your forthcoming intervention. It is essential to inform your eye surgeon about the medication you are on before going in for surgery.

Your doctor may recommend regular prostate checks via rectal examinations and PSA blood tests (prostate-specific antigen).

If you take more than your doctor prescribed, you may overdose on Cardura. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice signs of hypotension, typically displayed by fainting, dizziness, and generalized weakness.

Yes, Cardura can be prescribed to women. Cardura can help women pass kidney stones through urination and may be prescribed to women with bladder problems.

Be careful if you drive or use machinery that requires you to be alert. Cardura may impair your reactions. Avoid getting up too fast as you may feel dizzy, causing you to fall and injure yourself.

Cardura comes in a tablet form, and an extended-release form is also available.

Take Cardura exactly as advised by your doctor. Your doctor can change your dose eventually, but do not take more or less than you were prescribed. If the newly prescribed dose/ medication is causing undesirable side effects, speak to your doctor.