Compare Forteo vs. Nolvadex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Forteo (Teriparatide)

Prescription only

Nolvadex (Tamoxifen)

Prescription only
Prevents bone loss.

Forteo (Teriparatide) is a good second-choice medication to treat bone loss, but it's only available as an injectable.

Lowers risk of and treats breast cancer.

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.

  • If you're unable to use bisphosphonates or are still having fractures despite being on other medications, Forteo (Teriparatide) can be a good alternative.
  • You can start using Forteo (Teriparatide) as soon as you stop using bisphosphonates.
  • 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.
  • Only available as a brand medication, so it can be expensive.
  • You have to inject this every day, so it may not be a good option if you don't like needles.
  • Shouldn't take this longer than 18 to 24 months since it can increase the risk of bone cancers.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Side effects
The Forteo (Teriparatide) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
21possible side effects
  • Hot Flashes
  • Flush
  • Fluid Retention
  • Vaginal Discharge
  • Nausea
  • Irregular Menses
  • Weight Loss (>5%)
  • Skin Changes
  • Amenorrhea
  • Altered Menses
  • Oligomenorrhea
  • Bone Pain
  • Menstrual Disorder
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Cough/Coughing
  • Edema
  • Fatigue
  • Muscoloskeletal Pain
  • Pain
  • Ovarian Cyst(s)
  • Depression
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Malignant tumor of the bone
    • Paget's bone disease
    • Young people with open epiphyses
  • High calcium blood levels
    • Hypercalcemia
    • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Kidney stones
    • History of kidney stones
  • Positional low blood pressure
  • Drug interactions
    • Digoxin use
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Serious and life-threatening events
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Increased risk of vision changes
  • Worsening liver function
    • Current liver problems
  • Blood disorders
See more detailed risks and warnings