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Tamoxifen is used to prevent or treat breast cancer and to treat infertility due to absence of ovulation (anovulatory infertility). It is also used to lower a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer if she has a high risk (such as a family history of breast cancer).
How it works
Tamoxifen belongs to a group of medicines called anti-estrogens. It blocks the actions of estrogen, a female hormone which is required by certain types of breast cancers to grow.
Common side effects
deep vein thrombosis, genital itching, nausea, calf or thigh pain or swelling in the legs; discomfort in the pelvis such as pain or pressure ; lung or liver dysfunction., Hot flushes, light-headedness, skin rash, leg cramps, changes in vision, discharge or unusual bleeding from your vagina, vomiting, thinning of your hair, fluid retention, changes in your periods, temporary reduction in the number of blood cells, fibroids and cancer, pulmonary embolism, hypersensitivity reactions, bruise, an increased risk of blood clots, bone and tumor pain, headache, weight gain, cysts on the ovaries
Tamoxifen – What is it?
Sold under the trade name of Nolvadex, Tamoxifen is an anti-carcinogenic drug that acts against cancer. In simple words, some cancerous cells grow on estrogen. The cancerous cells have estrogen receptors that get attached to estrogen and multiply the growth of cancerous cells. What Tamoxifen does is, with its ability to attach to estrogen without activating it, gets attached to the estrogen and prevents the cancerous cells from binding with the estrogen and multiplying the cancerous cells. It is usually used in treating breast cancer and is known for its effectiveness on cancerous cells that have spread throughout the body. The drug, apart from being prescribed to people suffering from breast cancer, is also prescribed for reducing the chances of developing breast cancer for women who are exposed to a high risk of developing it. For instance, women whose family members have been diagnosed with breast cancer can take this drug to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
The effectiveness of this was put forth by a study that was carried for over 5 years on about 1500 women. The study showed that the intake of Tamoxifen reduced the chances of development of breast cancer in women by about 44 percent. This effective drug for breast cancer is also used to treat ailments relating to others and not to breast cancer.
Tamoxifen – Some Important Information
Classified by FDA under the D category of medications, you should not intake Tamoxifen if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and have consumed this medicine, the aftereffects can prove harmful for the baby. In case you are using any birth control while taking this medication, use contraceptions like condoms, spermicide or diaphragm, and continue using this form of contraceptions for at least the next two months after you have stopped the intake of this drug. Besides this, it is also suggested that you take up a pregnancy test before you start taking Tamoxifen.
Further, if you are allergic to Tamoxifen or have had blood clots in veins, lungs or if you are taking warfarin, do not take Tamoxifen. You should also notify your doctor about any previous liver diseases, cholesterol, stroke, cataract or blood clots that you have had in the past. If you are undergoing a radiation or chemotherapy treatment, make sure you inform him regarding the same as well. The intake of this drug may even increase the risk of uterine cancer, blood clots and stroke, which can turn out to be fatal. Though it depends on the individual nature of the body, you have to still take up several self-exams or mammograms and liver tests if you wish to opt for a safer use of Tamoxifen.
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