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Nolvadex (tamoxifen) is an antiestrogen drug which inhibits the ability of estrogen to bind with estrogen receptors on certain types of cancer; namely hormone receptor-positive or estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. It does not lower levels of estrogen in the body or interfere with estrogen production.
The medication may be used in both men and women, and in both pre- and post-menopausal women, in several scenarios:
Less commonly Nolvadex is used for other purposes, including:
The medication is also used in a range of research applications.
Dosage & Administration
Nolvadex comes in tablets containing 10 or 20 mg of tamoxifen, which may be taken with or without food. Taking tablets on a full stomach may ease nausea, if it occurs.
Treatment is usually straightforward when Nolvadex is used as a preventive measure in high-risk patients:
There may be some variation in dosing when used to treat existing cancer:
Doctor instructions may deviate from the standard guidelines above, and may vary considerably between individual patients according to response to treatment, other medications being taken, other medical conditions, and so forth. Regular doctor checkups are crucial to determine that the medication is continuing to work as intended.
Ideally Nolvadex will be taken at the same time each day, to keep levels of the drug consistent in the body. Missed doses should be taken as soon as remembered, unless it is very near time for the next dose, in which case a missed dose can be skipped.
As with many cancer treatments, the condition may temporarily worsen when treatment with Nolvadex begins. This is normal and generally not cause for concern, though it should be brought to the attention of a doctor to be on the safe side. Symptoms should quickly subside over the next several days.
Precautions & Adverse Effects
Nolvadex should not be used while pregnant or breast-feeding.
It may interact with a range of other medications, reducing effectiveness or causing complications. Check with a doctor or pharmacist before starting or ceasing other treatments while Nolvadex is being taken.
Side effects are typically mild and may stop occurring after a few weeks of treatment. Most common side effects include:
The above symptoms are not cause for concern unless severe enough to be disruptive.
A small number of patients using Nolvadex have experienced stroke, blood clots in the legs or lungs, and cancer of the uterus. Warning signs which call for immediate medical attention include:
Regular doctor exams will help catch any developing adverse reactions before they become serious.
No current Rx required
Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.