Tamoxifen is a generic medication which primarily treats breast cancer in women. It is known as a nonsterodial anti-estrogen drug. It is available for oral administration.
How it works
Estrogen is a hormone in females and it plays a key role in the formation and growth of breast cancer cells. Estrogen receptors are found in breast cancer cells. Tamoxifen works by fighting against estrogen to attach with Estrogen receptors. By doing so, this medication is able to inhibit the activity of estrogen in breast cancer cells and prevent or slow down the multiplication of harmful cancer cells. On the other hand, Tamoxifen can increase the positive effects of Estrogen which are linked to other functions in the body. For instance, this drug is a replacement for estrogen and it is known to prevent bone loss. Women who have reached menopause can lower their risks of other illnesses such as osteoporosis without having to use another hormone replacement.
Aside from treating women, this drug is known to treat breast cancers in men too. Tamoxifen is also prescribed to treat infertility in women and Gynecomastia; a condition in the endocrine system that is responsible for the enlargement of breast tissues in males. In addition, this drug is given to treat persons with the genetic disorder called McCune- Albright Syndrome.
Your doctor will determine if this medication is suitable for you. Usually, Tamoxifen is prescribed to women with stage 3 or stage 4 breast cancer, early stage breast cancer and a high possibility of getting breast cancer. It is given along with chemotherapy.
Tamoxifen is available in varying strengths of 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg. This medication should be continued for 5 years consistently by the patient.
But, your doctor will decide how long you should take this medication for.
The usual adult dose of Tamoxifen is 10 to 20 mg twice a day which is to be taken with or without meals around the same time every day.
The pediatric dose is 20 mg once a day. This treatment is recommended to be continued for at least a year.
A reaction to the synthetic chemicals in this drug can cause certain long term hazardous effects. There is a risk of developing cancer in the uterus in some women who take Tamoxifen. In addition, this drug is known to cause cataracts in the eyes and blockages in veins or lungs.
Common side effects of this drug are:
Changes in menstrual pattern
Stopping of menstruation
Weight gain or loss
Swelling of hands and feet
Loss of hair
Numbness of body
Before taking this medication, be mindful to tell your doctor if you are
Allergic to any of the ingredients in Tamoxifen
Pregnant or breastfeeding
Have Liver or kidney disease
Have a history of blot clots
Do not take Tamoxifen if you are using an anti-coagulant medication at the same time.
To lower the risk of getting hot flashes when taking this medication, wear soft clothing and stay in a cool and comfortable setting.