Astellas Pharma says it has launched a second-generation, once-daily version of its benign prostatic hyperplasia drug Flomax (tamsulosin) – called Flomaxtra XL – in the UK.

The offering uses Astellas’ own Oral Controlled Absorption System to allow for a more consistent release of tamsulosin over 24 hours, with a reduced peak plasma concentration and a smoother pharmacokinetic profile. Astellas hopes the new drug will allow patients and healthcare professionals to better control the condition, particularly overnight (nocturia).

Dr Mark Speakman, Consultant Urologist, Taunton Hospital, expanded further on the important implications of the new formulation Flomaxtra XL: “Whilst we should remember that for many years Flomax has been and still is a highly effective, top level treatment in this area, Flomaxtra XL potentially brings even greater benefit. In addition to the improvement in nocturia, the smoother 24 hour release of the drug has very encouraging implications in terms of side-effect profile in comparison with existing therapies.” Specifically, data for Flomaxtra XL have shown a lower incidence of cardiovascular side effects in comparison with conventional tamsulosin, with a reduced effect on blood pressure and minimal heart rate increases.

A recent NOP survey involving over 200 GPs in the UK revealed that 93% of their patients reported nocturia as one of the three most bothersome symptoms of BPH, with frequency and urgency of urination being the other most common. In addition 95% of

GPs said that they were very or fairly likely to use a new therapy for BPH if it was shown to improve the symptoms of BPH and in turn improve patients’ quality of life. In the UK, BPH is estimated to affect around one in five men aged between 50 and 59 and this rises to one in three at 60 years plus.

Astellas is introducing Flomaxtra XL‚ as a 30 tablet pack, at a price of £17.55. This represents a 15% discount on the current MR version of Flomax.