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Tamoxifen Tablets

Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator that treats different stages of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Doctors in both men and women prescribe this medication to treat breast cancer.

Tamoxifen is recommended for the following conditions:

After surgery to decrease the risk of hormone receptor-positive and early-stage breast cancer returning in both men & women.

To treat advanced-stage, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in women or men after surgery.

It is given to women with DCIS that has hormone receptor positivity following surgery to lower their risk of invasive breast cancer.

Tamoxifen is used by women who are more likely to have an undiagnosed illness to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

In 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Tamoxifen as a treatment for breast cancer, after which it has grown in popularity.

Only with a doctor's prescription, can you get this drug from a recognized pharmacy.

The working mechanism of Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen works by obstructing the effects of estrogen on hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells. During this process, Tamoxifen sits in estrogen receptors present in cells. When Tamoxifen is present in receptors, estrogen cannot attach to cancer cells. In this way, the cell cannot receive estrogen's signals to grow and reproduce further in the breast tissue. Remember, Tamoxifen never works on hormone receptor-negative breast cancer.

Why do breast cancer patients take Tamoxifen tablets?

Several people have used Tamoxifen to treat or prevent breast cancer effectively.

This medicine can reduce the following risks:

  • Breast cancer in the opposite breast by almost 50%

  • Recurrence of breast cancer in postmenopausal people 40% to 50%

  • Early breast cancer diagnosis by 40%

  • Disturbing breast cancer after diagnosis of early-stage, non-invasive breast cancer by 50%

How to take Tamoxifen?

Read the patient information booklet completely before beginning your Tamoxifen treatment. If you have any queries about this drug or suggested dosage, speak to your doctor. The dosage of Tamoxifen is usually prescribed depending on the medical condition and response to treatment.

Tamoxifen is available as a pill (brand name: Nolvadex) and a liquid (brand name: Soltamox). Most frequently, doctors recommend taking Tamoxifen, usually once or twice a day, at the same time each day, without missing a dose.

In case you are diagnosed with early-stage hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, then take Tamoxifen for 5 years. You need to take this medicine for five years after undergoing surgery to decrease the risk of recurrence.

After the first five years, your doctor will decide whether taking another 5 years of Tamoxifen is necessary or not.

When you are diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive DCIS, Tamoxifen is taken for five years after surgery. It will lower your chance of developing invasive breast cancer, a medical illness. Continue with tamoxifen treatment if you have hormone receptor-positive, advanced breast cancer.

Nevertheless, discontinue Tamoxifen if you find that its advantages outweigh any dangers or adverse effects.

Depending on your condition, the doctor may advise taking one dose of Tamoxifen in the morning and one in the evening.

If your risk of breast cancer is higher than average, you should take Tamoxifen continuously for five years.

As this medication can be absorbed through your skin and lungs, women during pregnancy must not handle Tamoxifen.

If your condition does not improve with Tamoxifen treatment, then let your doctor know immediately.

Missed dose

It would be best if you took a missed dose immediately as soon as you remember.

But if it's already time for the next scheduled dose, then skip the missed dose and continue with the regular dosing routine.

Never take a double dose at the same time because this can make you suffer from serious side effects.


When this medicine is overdosed, one can experience symptoms like difficulty breathing or passing out. Also, you are more likely to experience the side effects of this medication. Contact your doctor quickly if you take an overdose of Tamoxifen and seek medical attention soon if required.

Tamoxifen: Know about its precautions and warnings

Before starting therapy, let your doctor know if you are sensitive to Tamoxifen or have any other allergies. This drug contains some inactive components that could cause allergic reactions or other problems. Discuss with your doctor about this medication in detail.

Tamoxifen can harm an unborn baby. You might require a pregnancy test to ensure you are not pregnant. While using Tamoxifen, use effective birth control for almost 2 months after your Tamoxifen dose. Let your doctor know if you become pregnant during treatment with Tamoxifen. To prevent pregnancy while using Tamoxifen, it is necessary to use a reliable barrier form of birth control.

In case you take warfarin, then do not use Tamoxifen strictly to reduce your risk of suffering from breast cancer.

To make sure Tamoxifen is safe for you, let your doctor know if you have the following medical conditions:

  • Liver disorder

  • A stroke or blood clot

  • Cataracts

  • High cholesterol

Before starting treatment with Tamoxifen, your doctor must also know if you are undergoing chemotherapy sessions. This medicine can increase your risk of stroke, uterine cancer, blood clots in the lungs, or liver cancer. All these risks can be dangerous or fatal, especially in high-risk patients. Discuss with the doctor about your risks.

It is unknown whether Tamoxifen passes into the breast milk or not, so make sure to discuss with a doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby. Consult with a health care professional and use this medication only when considered safe under such circumstances.

Side effects of Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen can cause some possible side effects, such as

  • Increased bone or tumor pain

  • Dizziness

  • Pain or reddening around the tumor site

  • Hot flashes

  • Nausea

  • Swelling of different body parts

  • Excessive tiredness

  • Depression, mood changes

  • Headache

  • Thinning of hair

  • Muscle aches or leg cramps

  • Loss of sexual desire or ability

  • Weight loss

  • Vision changes, Blurred vision, or eye pain

  • Constipation

  • Stomach cramps

Usually, most of these common side effects of Tamoxifen get will themselves. But if any side effects turn serious, get emergency medical help soon.

Drug interaction

Drug interactions can alter how your medicines work or increase the risk of severe side effects.

Below-stated are some medicines that interact with Tamoxifen and should be avoided during treatment:

  • Butalbital

  • Mitotane

  • Cimetidine

  • Rifamycins

  • SSRI antidepressants

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to store Tamoxifen?

Tamoxifen should be kept at room temperature and away from moisture, heat, and light.

When should I discontinue taking Tamoxifen?

Most people take this medicine for at least 5 years and, sometimes, for 10 years.

Depending upon your cancer diagnosis, the doctor will determine the treatment length.

Is it safe to take a Tamoxifen tablet?

Yes, if you follow your doctor's prescription strictly and do not overdose, then it is safe to take Tamoxifen.