Tamoxifen is a drug that is prescribed to treat certain types of breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer, node-positive breast cancer, and ductal carcinoma in situ. It can also help prevent the disease in women who are at high risk for it. Tamoxifen comes in tablet form, and is generally taken once or twice a day. Potential side effects include vaginal discharge, nausea, and abnormal menstrual periods.

What Is Tamoxifen?

Tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex®) is a prescription medication used to treat and prevent breast cancer. Specifically, it has been licensed for the following uses:
  • Treatment of metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the breasts) in men and women
  • Treatment of node-positive breast cancer (breast cancer that involves the lymph nodes) in postmenopausal women who have undergone breast cancer surgery or radiation
  • Treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is early cancer of the ducts of the breasts that has not yet spread to the rest of the breast, in women who have undergone breast cancer surgery or radiation to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer
  • Breast cancer prevention in women who are at high risk for the disease.
(Click What Is Tamoxifen Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Brand-name tamoxifen was made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, but is no longer being made. However, generic tamoxifen is available and is made by several different manufacturers.
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