Tamoxifen is the common form of the branded drug Soltamox, which is used to treat certain types of breast cancer in men and women.
Tamoxifen is prescribed for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer or cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body. Tamoxifen is also used to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer in high-risk women (for example, in patients with a family history of breast cancer).
The drug can also be prescribed for the treatment of certain brain cancers and McCune-Albright Syndrome (a genetic disease that can cause early puberty in girls).
Tamoxifen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal antiestrogens that block the action of hormone estrogen.
In 2006, the FDA advisory group recommended adding a more specific warning to Tamoxifen about its side effects.
If you are taking Tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer, you may need to take the first dose during the menstrual cycle. You may also need to take a pregnancy test before you start taking Tamoxifen to make sure that you are not pregnant. Follow the instructions of your doctor.
Admission Tamoxifen may increase the risk of developing uterine cancer, a stroke or a blood clot in your lungs, which can lead to death. Talk with your doctor about your specific risks when taking this medication.
To make sure that this medicine does not cause harmful effects, your doctor can prescribe a mammogram and regularly conduct breast examinations. Your liver will also be checked regularly.
Before taking Tamoxifen, you should:
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines that you take
- Talk with your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of tamoxifen and decide if possible benefits can cost the risk of taking the medication.
You should not use Tamoxifen if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- History of blood clots in your veins or lungs
- If you also take warfarin (Coumadin)
To make sure that you can safely take Tamoxifen, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:
- Liver disease
- High cholesterol or triglycerides (type of fat in the blood)
- History of a stroke or a blood clot
- History of cataracts
- If you go through chemotherapy or get radiation
Pregnancy and Tamoxifen
Do not use Tamoxifen if you are pregnant. This can harm an unborn baby. Use condoms while you use this.
Hormonal contraception (eg, birth control pills, injections, implants and vaginal rings) may not be effective enough to prevent pregnancy during your treatment.
It is not known whether Tamoxifen enters breast milk and whether it can harm a breastfeeding baby. However, this drug may slow the production of breast milk. You should not breast-feed while taking Tamoxifen.
Side Effects of Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms is difficult or does not go away:
- Increased pain in the bones
- Pain or redness around the tumor
- Excessive fatigue
- Depression or anxiety
- Thinning hair
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Incorrect menstruation
- Vaginal dryness
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of sexual desire or ability (in men)
Some side effects can be severe. If you experience any of the following symptoms, immediately consult your doctor or call 911:
- Eye problems
- Loss of appetite
- Thoracic pain
- Coughing up blood
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, hands, feet, ankles or feet
- Hoarseness or shortness of breath
- New masses of mammary glands
- Muscle weakness
Tamoxifen may increase the risk of developing other cancers, including liver cancer and uterine cancer. This can also increase the risk of developing cataracts, which may need to be treated with a surgical procedure.
Talk with your doctor about these risks and tell him if you have any problems with taking this medication.
Many drugs can interact with tamoxifen. Tell your doctor if you are using any of these drugs:
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Clozaril (Clozapine)
- Cyclophosphamide (cytoxane)
- Isoniazid (Nydrazid) for the treatment of tuberculosis
- Letrozole (Fehmara)
- Metimazol (tarazol)
- Nicardipine (Cardene)
- Pioglitazone (Actos)
- Rifampin (Rifadine)
- Ropinirole (Requip)
- Ticlopidine (Tyclid)
- Trannylcypromine (Parnate)
- Antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine (Aralen), pyrimethamine (Daraprm) or quinine (Qualaquine)
- Antifungal agents, such as terbinafine (Lamisil)
- An antidepressant such as bupropion (Wellbutrin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Treyzafagit, Norpramin and Pertofrane), duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva) sertraline (Zoloft) or tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- A cardiac rhythm medication such as amiodarone (Cordarone) or quinidine (quinidine)
- Delovirgin (rescriptor) or ritonavir (Norvir)
- Drugs for the treatment of mental disorders (aripiprazole (Abilify), chlorpromazine (torazine), fluphenazine (prolyxin), haloperidol (Haldol), perphenazine (trilafon) or thioridazine (melaryl)
This list is not complete, and other drugs may interact with Tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Tell your doctor about all the medicines that you use.
Dosage of Tamoxifen
Take Tamoxifen exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less than or more than recommended. Follow the directions in the recipe.
Take this medication with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Tamoxifen can be taken with or without food.
If you are taking Tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer, you may need to take the first dose while you have a menstrual period. You may also need to take a pregnancy test before you start taking Tamoxifen to make sure that you are not pregnant. Follow the instructions of your doctor.
Use Tamoxifen regularly to get the most benefit. Get a new prescription before you run out of medicine completely. You may need to continue using this drug for up to 5 years.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat or cold. Do not freeze.
Seek emergency medical help or call a toxicology reference.
The missed dose of tamoxifen
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s time for a new dose, skip it and resume the usual schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed one.