Tamoxifen Side Effects
Common tamoxifen side effects include hot flashes, abnormal menstrual periods, dizziness, and water retention. However, most people tolerate the drug without problems. Serious side effects of tamoxifen are uncommon, but if they occur, they should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include signs of blood clots, an increase in tumor size or appearance, and chest pain.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex®); however, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with tamoxifen. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of tamoxifen side effects with you.)
Tamoxifen has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which a group of people taking the drug have side effects documented. In these studies, the most common side effects of tamoxifen included:
- Hot flashes -- in up to 80 percent of people
- Vaginal discharge -- up to 50 percent
- Water retention -- up to 32 percent
- Nausea -- up to 26 percent
- Irregular menstrual periods -- up to 25 percent
- Weight loss -- up to 23 percent
- Vaginal bleeding -- up to 23 percent.
Other common tamoxifen side effects (occurring in 2 to 19 percent of people taking the drug) included:
- Bone pain
- Back pain
- High cholesterol (see Tamoxifen and High Cholesterol)
- Muscle pain
- Ovarian cysts
- Skin changes
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Insomnia (see Tamoxifen and Insomnia)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight gain (see Tamoxifen and Weight Gain)
- Mood changes
- Hair loss (see Tamoxifen and Hair Loss).