Flomax Side Effects After Cataract Surgery Lead to Calls for Black Box Warning

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted May 21, 2009


New research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that Flomax side effects more than double the risk that older men will suffer serious eye problems as a complication of cataract surgery. An editorial accompanying the study suggests that a “black box” warning should be considered, so that eye surgeons and the public are properly advised of the risk associated with using the drug before cataract surgery.

Flomax is a blockbuster medication which has been heavily promoted in direct-to-consumer television ads, encouraging men who wake up several times during the night, have problems with urinating too often or frequently feel an urgent need to go, to speak with their doctor about receiving the medication, which is used to treat male urinary symptoms due to BPH, also known as an enlarged prostate.

Although it has been known that side effects of Flomax may increase the risk of complications following cataract surgery, new research highlights the extent of the risk, calling for a reassessment of the language used on the warning label, which is buried as a “general precaution.”

The study examined data involving 96,128 men 66 years old and older who had cataract surgery in Canada between 2002 and 2007. Approximately 7.5% of men who were treated with Flomax during the 14 days before surgery developed serious cataract surgery complications, such as retinal detachment, lost lens or inflammation around the eye caused by a condition known as Intraoperative Floppy Eye Syndrome (IFIS). Among men who were not treated with Flomax, only 2.7% experienced similar eye complications.

In the editorial published in the same issue of JAMA, Dr. Alan H. Friedman concluded:

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the United States today. With nearly 2 million cataract operations performed in the United States each year, the magnitude of IFIS associated with [Flomax] cannot be underestimated. Although the prescribing information for [Flomax] includes IFIS as a “general precaution,” the data on the risk of this complication should be reassessed to determine whether a “black box” warning should be issued to caution the ophthalmic surgeon and the general public (men in particular) of danger to the eye of taking adrenergic blocking agents before cataract surgery.


The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing this new research and evaluating whether users of Flomax who experienced complications following cataract surgery may be entitled to compensation through a Flomax lawsuit. If you, a friend or family member have suffered severe eye problems and complications that may have been caused by Flomax side effects, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

8 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Don says:

    I have been taking Flomax for almost four years and just recently had to undergo a vitrectomy due to a retinal tear–I am wondering if the Flomax may be a cause–If anyone can share a similar experience with me, I would be most grateful.

    Posted on October 7, 2009 at 12:03 am

  • David says:

    I had cataract surgery and that day and night had very sever headaches and pain due to pressure buildup in my eye. I am on Flomax. This is 10 days later, and I still have blurry vision.

    Posted on November 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

  • Walt says:

    I took flowmax for a year, after 3 months I noticed having to struggle to focus a far and at first assumed that getting older eyes changing. After taking it for a year I quit taking the Flomax July 2010. In May of 2011 I was diagnoised with 3 tears in my left eye and a complete retinal detachment in my right eye. Not diabetic,no high blood pressure and was not due to accident. Never have had eye problems in my life and never wore glasses.

    Posted on February 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  • tommy says:

    i had cataract surgery 3-6-12 and could not see out of eye for 3 days and 21 days later still do not have clear vision the way dozens of friends that have had this type of surgery can see. Dr had to stretch pupil because of taking this flomax.

    Posted on March 26, 2012 at 3:59 am

  • Doug says:

    had catrac surgery and was told during surgery that flomax was causing problems, 3 days after surgery my pupil is still dilated and my vision is blurry. Word of advise… don’t take flomax if you are planning eye surgery

    Posted on August 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm

  • John says:

    My eye Doctor told me if you ever have taken Flomax, the damage is already done. Even only for a couple of weeks! Bad stuff!

    Posted on January 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm

  • Thomas says:

    Cataract surgery 10 years ago stretched irs left eye doctor said this was normal was taking flomax i see four red green or yellow lights at night headaches

    Posted on February 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm

  • James says:

    I’ve been taking Flow Max for 2 months. I had an infection in both eyes, so bad that it required an emergency room visit. This lasted 2 weeks, then I stopped taking Flow Max, within 4 days, my eyes cleared up.

    Posted on January 5, 2016 at 8:52 pm

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