Prescription onlyClass: Cancer

Nolvadex 

(tamoxifen)

Prescription onlyClass: Cancer
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Lowers risk of and treats breast cancer.

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Our bottom line

Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is an effective, first-line option for certain types of breast cancers, but it has many severe side effects and needs a lot of monitoring.

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Prices and coupons for 30 (20mg) tablets of tamoxifen

Upsides

  • In studies, postmenopausal women who were at high risk for breast cancer took Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) for 5 years and lowered their risk by about 50%.
  • Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is the only medicine approved to lower risk of breast cancer regardless of menopausal status. Other medicines are approved only for postmenopausal women.
  • Effective in treating metastatic breast cancer in men and women.
  • Available in both tablets and a sugar-free solution.

Downsides

  • If you're taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) to lower your risk for breast cancer, it can raise your risk of having a stroke or getting a blood clot, especially if you have a history of blood clots or you're currently taking a blood thinner, like warfarin. Tell your doctor about any health conditions before you start taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen).
  • Can raise the risk of fractures in premenopausal women.
  • There are many drug interactions, including antidepressants and other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes.
  • Requires regular blood tests and doctor exams to monitor for side effects.
  • Not the best choice if you have eye or liver problems.
How it works

Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is an estrogen receptor antagonist. It stops tumor growth by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue.

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Side effect rates for Nolvadex (tamoxifen)

104 From clinical trials of Nolvadex / Breast cancer
  • Hot flashes
  • Flush
  • Holding water
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Nausea
  • Irregular menses
  • Weight loss (>5%)
  • Skin changes
  • No periods
  • Altered menses

Risks and Warnings for Nolvadex (tamoxifen)

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  • If you're at high risk for breast cancer or are a women with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) has been associated with uterine cancer, stroke, and blood clots of the lung. Talk to your doctor about the risks before taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen).

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Nolvadex (tamoxifen)

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Pregnancy
Interactions
  • There are many drug interactions, including antidepressants and other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes.
Kidneys and liver
  • Not the best choice if you have eye or liver problems.