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Nolvadex (Tamoxifen)

Warning: Rare but very serious side effects are associated with Nolvadex including strokes, blood clots in the lungs/legs and uterine cancer. If you are taking this medication to reduce the risk of breast cancer, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of taking this medicine.  If you are taking this medication to treat breast cancer, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks of side effects. If you develop symptoms of a stroke or blood clots such as chest pain, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, calf pain and swelling or sudden changes in vision, call a doctor or go to a hospital immediately. It’s also important to notify a doctor or health care professional if you experience changes in your monthly menstrual period or have unusual vaginal discharge or pain in your lower stomach. These may be signs of cancer of the uterus and you should see a doctor.

 

Indications: Nolvadex is a medication used to treat breast cancer and other cancer that has spread to various parts in the body. It is sometimes used to treat breast cancer in patients after surgery and radiation to reduce the chances of breast cancer in patients considered “high risk”.  The medication is is also used to prevent complication in women who have had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).  

 

Nolvadex is sometimes prescribed to treat ovulation problems in women who want to get pregnant but are unable to produce eggs. In addition, the medication can be used in the treatment of McCune-Albright syndrome, a genetic disease that affects the bones and color (pigmentation) of the skin in children. 

Dosage: Nolvadex comes as white coated tablet to be taken by mouth. This medication can be taken with or without food. It is usually taken once or twice a day for 5 years or as directed by a doctor. If you have been prescribed 20 milligrams, divide the pill or liquid in half and take twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. 

 

If you are taking a liquid form of Nolvadex, use a special measuring spoon and not a household spoon to ensure you get the correct dosage.

 

Storage: keep nolvadex tightly closed in the container it came, out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature (15-25 ° C), away from heat, light and moisture. Nolvadex and all other drugs should not be used beyond the expiration date printed on the container.   

Overdose:  nolvadex overdose can be fatal. The risk is even higher when the drug is overdosed for a long term. In fact, most chemotherapy drugs overdose, including nolvadex, can lead to death. Even in the absence of overdose, nolvadex can cause strokes, blood clots in the lungs, and cancer of the uterus. It is extremely important that you take nolvadex as indicated by your health care provider or according to the directions on the label.  

Missing dose: do your best to take nolvadex around the same time every day.  In case you forget to take a dose, take the missed one as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, do not double the next dose to recover the missed one; it can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or wait to go back to your regular schedule.   Misusing nolvadex can cause life threatening health problems.  

Mechanism of action (MOA): Nolvadex is an antiestrogen; it slows or stops the multiplication of cancer cells by blocking the hormonal effects of estrogen in the body.  

Interactions:  Very serious interactions can occur if this drug is used with the following medications: Anastrozole, letrozole.  If you are taking any of these medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting this medication.  Make sure your doctor or pharmacist is aware of all prescriptions and non-prescriptions you are taking before starting this medication. This includes herbal medicines and especially any medication that causes “thinning of the blood.”   Nolvadex may also interfere with certain lab tests such as thyroid tests. Make sure laboratory staff and doctors are aware that you are using this specific medication. 

 

Contraindications: Tell your doctor your complete medical history prior to taking Nolvadex and  tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to any medications. This medication is not recommended for pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant. Be sure to get a pregnancy test before starting the medication and use a reliable form of birth control.  Consult your doctor before breastfeeding. It’s not known whether this medicine is passed into breast milk and it could cause potential risk to an infant.

 

Side Effects: Novaldex not only attacks cancer cells but also healthy cells, which often leads to development of the following side effects: include:      

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, you need to see a health care provider as soon as you can if you experience any of these symptoms:  

  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • vision problems
  • ulcers in the mouth and/or on the lips
  • decreased of appetite
  • persistent fever
  • persistent thirst
  • chronic constipation
  • muscle weakness
  • restlessness
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs.  

 

References 

 

1 - encyclopedia.com, document 1G1-63065744 

2 - nlm.nih.gov, Nolvadex