Available by prescription only, tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex®) is a drug used to treat and prevent breast cancer. In fact, clinical studies have shown that this medication can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 44 percent.
As a breast cancer medicine, tamoxifen works by binding to estrogen receptors in the breast, which decreases the effects of estrogen. By decreasing estrogen's effects, the drug can help minimize the growth of breast cancer.
The medication comes in tablet and liquid form and is taken by mouth once or twice a day. Although most people tolerate this drug well, it is not suitable for everyone. Before starting treatment with tamoxifen, the pain medicine's warnings and precautions should be fully reviewed with your healthcare provider. For example, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of any other medical conditions you may have and any other medications you are taking.
Some of the possible side effects of tamoxifen include nausea, hot flashes, and fluid retention. In most cases, reactions to this medicine are mild and easy to treat.
(For more details on this breast cancer medicine, click Tamoxifen. This article discusses potential side effects, general dosing guidelines, general safety precautions, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Nolvadex [package insert]. Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals;2006 March.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 3, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed May 3, 2007.
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