GENERIC NAME: TAMOXIFEN - ORAL (ta-MOX-ih-fen) (SOL-ta-mox)
BRAND NAME(S): Nolvadex, Soltamox
WARNING: Tamoxifen has rarely caused very serious (possibly fatal) strokes, blood clots in the lungs/legs, and cancer of the uterus. If you are taking tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer, or if your cancer is limited to the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma in situ-DCIS), then discuss the benefits and risks of taking this medication with your doctor. However, if you are taking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer, then the benefits of taking tamoxifen are greater than the risks of side effects.
Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of a stroke or blood clots in the lungs/legs, such as weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, confusion, shortness of breath, chest pain, or calf pain/swelling.
Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of cancer of the uterus, such as unusual changes in your monthly period (e.g., amount or timing of bleeding), unusual vaginal discharge, or pain/pressure below your "belly button" (navel).
USES: Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancer), to treat breast cancer in certain patients after surgery and radiation therapy, and to reduce the chances of breast cancer in high-risk patients.This medication can block the growth of breast cancer. It works by interfering with the effects of estrogen in the breast tissue.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using tamoxifen and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once or twice daily for 5 years, or as directed by your doctor. Daily dosages greater than 20 milligrams are usually divided in half and taken twice a day, in the morning and evening, or as directed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.If you have breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, you may experience increased bone/cancer pain and/or disease flare-up as you start taking tamoxifen. In some cases, this may be a sign of a good response to the medication. Symptoms include increased bone pain, increased tumor size, or even new tumors. These symptoms usually disappear quickly. In any case, report these symptoms immediately to your doctor.Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets. (See also Precautions section.)Inform your doctor immediately if your condition worsens (e.g., you get new breast lumps).
SIDE EFFECTS: See also Warning section.Hot flashes, nausea, leg cramps, muscle aches, hair thinning, headache, and numb/tingling skin may occur. A loss of sexual ability/interest may occur in men. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: vision changes (e.g., blurred vision), eye pain, easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes, swelling of ankles/feet, unusual tiredness.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat).A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking tamoxifen, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.If you have cancer limited to the milk ducts, or if you are taking this medication to prevent breast cancer, then this medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a history of blood clots (e.g., deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, stroke), conditions that require treatment with a "blood thinner" (such as warfarin).If you have breast cancer and a history of blood clots/stroke, you may or may not be able to take tamoxifen. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high cholesterol/triglycerides, limited or no ability to walk (immobility), diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, cataracts, liver disease.Before having surgery (especially breast reconstruction), tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy because it may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details. Women of childbearing age should start tamoxifen during their periods or get a negative pregnancy test before starting the medication.It is recommended that men and women using this medication use two effective non-hormonal forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and diaphragms with spermicide) while taking this medication and for 2 months after stopping the medication. Consult your doctor.It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious interactions may occur: anastrozole, letrozole.If you are currently using any of these medications listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting tamoxifen.Tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription drugs you may use, especially of: "blood thinners" (e.g., warfarin), estrogens, hormonal forms of birth control (e.g., birth control pills, patches, implants), phenobarbital, rifamycins (e.g., rifampin), St John's wort.Other medications can affect the removal of tamoxifen from your body, which may affect how tamoxifen works. Examples include cimetidine, SSRI antidepressants such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, among others.This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including thyroid tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: shaking, unsteady walking, fainting, irregular heartbeat.
NOTES: Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood counts, liver function tests, pelvic exams, mammogram, eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.If you are using the liquid, do not refrigerate or freeze it. After you open the bottle, discard any unused liquid after 3 months.Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Latest MedicineNet News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top tamoxifen Related Articles
Breast Anatomy PictureThe breast refers to the front of the chest or, more specifically, to the mammary gland. See a picture of Breast Anatomy and learn more about the health topic.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
What you should know about breast cancer
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
- One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
- There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
- The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors.
- There are many different types of breast cancer.
- Breast cancer symptoms and signs include
- a lump in the breast or armpit,
- bloody nipple discharge,
- inverted nipple,
- orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange),
- breast pain or sore nipple,
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple.
- Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice.
- Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
- Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Young Women & Breast CancerIs breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and other crucial breast cancer facts.
Breast Cancer SlidesLearn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and drug therapies as well as the survival rate for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer PreventionLifestyle changes, a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, exercise, and weight reduction can help reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. It's important to be aware of how risk factors such as family history, lifestyle factors, breast conditions, radiation therapy, and hormonal factors may influence your chances of developing breast cancer. Mammography and breast self-examinations are crucial steps in breast cancer prevention.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Breast Cancer?A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, so it's important to write down all your questions before meeting with your doctor.
Breast Cancer QuizThis Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. Increase your awareness of breast cancer now!
Cancer PreventionCertain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
Inflammatory Breast CancerInflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Male Breast CancerMale breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
Migraine HeadacheMigraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)Peyronie's disease or curvature of the penis (Peyronie disease) is a condition in which scar tissue develops inside the penis. This scar tissue causes the penis to develop an abnormal curvature in the scarred area. At this time, there is no known cause of Peyronie's disease. Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include pain during intercourse or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), the inability to have sexual intercourse, anxiety, stress, an indentation of the shaft at the site where there is plaque or scarring, and an angulation of the penis when erect or flaccid. There is no cure for Peyronie's disease, however, there are medications that can reduce symptoms of the disease. Surgery or penile implants may be an option for severe cases.
Preventive MastectomyPreventive mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts for the purposes of preventing or reducing the risk of breast cancer. One of two procedures are used during preventative mastectomy: subcutaneous mastectomy or total mastectomy. Whereas the entire breast and nipple are removed in total mastectomy, only the breast tissue is removed during subcutaneous mastectomy.
Uterine CancerThough uterine cancer's cause is unknown, there are many factors that will put a woman at risk, including being over age 50, having endometrial hyperplasia, using hormone replacement therapy, obesity, using tamoxifen, being Caucasian, and/or having colorectal cancer. Symptoms and signs of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer) include abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful urination, painful intercourse, and pelvic pain. Treatment depends on staging and may include radiation therapy or hormone therapy.