Why use Tamoxifen in treating breast cancer?
Tamoxifen has been used in treating millions of men and women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. It’s the first choice of medication for premenopausal women and postmenopausal women. Tamoxifen is FDA approved to treat:
- Men and women with an early-stage breast cancer after surgery, in reducing the risk of cancer from coming back
- Men and women with the metastatic hormone-receptor- positive disease
- Women who are at higher than the average risk of having breast cancer
How does Tamoxifen work?
Tamoxifen contains Tamoxifen Citrate as an active ingredient. It is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It’s, in fact, the oldest and the most-prescribed SERN. Tamoxifen works by blocking the effects of estrogen on the breast tissue. Tamoxifen can:
- Shrink large breast cancer before surgery
- For postmenopausal women, this drug can reduce the risk of breast cancer from coming back by 40% to 50%
- For premenopausal women, Tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer from coming back by 30% to 50%
- Slow down or stop the growth of metastatic breast cancer
- Reduce the chances of new cancer cells to develop in the other breast by 50%
Since Tamoxifen is a SERM, it selectively blocks or activates the action of estrogen on specific cells. It activates the estrogen action in the bone while blocking the action of estrogen in the breast cells. So, Tamoxifen can lower the cholesterol level and help stop bone loss after menopause.
How to use Tamoxifen?
The recommended dose is 20 mg to 40 mg a day. Tamoxifen can be taken by mouth with or without food. Take this drug once or twice a day for 5 years or as directed by your doctor. Your dose is based on your medical condition and your response to the treatment. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
What are the side effects of Tamoxifen?
Common side effects of Tamoxifen are:
- Leg cramps
- Muscle pain
- Loss of sexual interest among men
Serious side effects are:
- Unusual tiredness
- Bleeds easily
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
Warning and Precautions
- Inform your doctor about all medications, herbs and vitamins you are taking to avoid any interaction.
- Your condition may flare-up during the beginning of your treatment. This is a good response to the treatment. The symptoms will just disappear quickly. However, you should contact still your doctor.
- This medication is absorbed through the lungs and the skin. It is not intended for pregnant and lactating women.
- This drug may interact with a blood thinner such as warfarin.