Tamoxifen citrate
 Tamoxifen Citrate


|Tamoxifen citrate Tamoxifen Citrate

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Tamoxifen citrate

Generic name: Tamoxifen citrate
Brand names: Nolvadex

Why is Tamoxifen citrate prescribed?

Tamoxifen citrate, an anticancer drug, is given to treat breast cancer. It also has proved effective when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Tamoxifen citrate is most effective in stopping the kind of breast cancer that thrives on estrogen.

Tamoxifen citrate is also prescribed to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer following surgery and radiation therapy for ductal carcinoma in situ. The drug can also be used to reduce the odds of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing the disease. It does not completely eliminate your chances, but in a five-year study of over 1,500 high-risk women, it slashed the number of cases by 44 percent.

Most important fact about Tamoxifen citrate

Although Tamoxifen citrate reduces the risk of breast cancer, it increases othe possibility of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer. Women taking Tamoxifen citrate should have routine gynecological examinations and report any abnormal vaginal bleeding, changes in menstrual periods, change in vaginal discharge, or pelvic pain or pressure to the doctor immediately. Even after Tamoxifen citrate therapy has stopped, any abnormal vaginal bleeding should be reported at once.

How should you take Tamoxifen citrate?

Take Tamoxifen citrate exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking Tamoxifen citrate without first consulting your doctor. It may be necessary to continue taking the drug for several years.

--If you miss a dose...

Do not try to make it up. Go back to your regular schedule with the next dose.

--Storage instructions...

Tamoxifen citrate may be stored at room temperature.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects from Tamoxifen citrate are usually mild and rarely require the drug to be stopped. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Tamoxifen citrate.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Hot flashes, nausea, vomiting

Why should Tamoxifen citrate not be prescribed?

Do not take Tamoxifen citrate if you are sensitive to it or have ever had an allergic reaction to it.

If you are taking the blood-thinning drug Coumadin or have had problems with clots in your veins or your lungs, you should not take Tamoxifen citrate to reduce the risk of breast cancer, and when taking it to treat an actual case of the disease, you should use it with caution.

Special warnings about Tamoxifen citrate

In addition to increasing the risk of uterine cancer, Tamoxifen citrate also raises the odds of developing endometriosis (the spread of endometrial tissue outside the uterus), uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, and ovarian cysts. Women who take Tamoxifen citrate also face a greater risk of stroke and blood clots lodging in their lungs. The risk increases further when Tamoxifen citrate is combined with toxic cancer drugs. Tamoxifen citrate can also cause liver damage, and should be used with caution if you already have liver problems.

If you experience visual problems while taking Tamoxifen citrate, notify your doctor immediately.

In a few women Tamoxifen citrate may raise the level of cholesterol and other fats in the blood. Your doctor may periodically do blood tests to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Tamoxifen citrate may produce an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood. Symptoms include muscle pain and weakness, loss of appetite, and, if severe, kidney failure. If you experience any of these symptoms, notify your doctor as soon as possible.

If tests show that your blood contains too few white blood cells or platelets while you are taking Tamoxifen citrate, your doctor should monitor you with special care. These problems have sometimes been found in women taking Tamoxifen citrate; whether the drug caused the blood-cell abnormalities is uncertain.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Tamoxifen citrate

If Tamoxifen citrate is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Tamoxifen citrate with the following:

Aminoglutethimide (Cytadren)
Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin
Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
Cancer drugs such as Cytoxan
Letrozole (Femara)
Rifampin (Rifadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

It is important to avoid pregnancy while taking Tamoxifen citrate, because the drug could harm the unborn child. Since Tamoxifen citrate is an anti-estrogen drug, you will need to use a non-hormonal form of contraception, such as a condom and/or diaphragm, and not birth control pills. If you accidentally become pregnant while taking Tamoxifen citrate, or within 2 months after you have stopped taking it, discuss this with your doctor immediately.

Because Tamoxifen citrate might cause serious harm to a nursing infant, you should not breastfeed your baby while taking Tamoxifen citrate. If Tamoxifen citrate is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage


Breast Cancer Treatment

The daily dosage ranges from 20 to 40 milligrams. If you are taking more than 20 milligrams a day, your doctor will have you divide the total into 2 smaller doses taken in the morning and evening. Tamoxifen citrate comes in 10- and 20-milligram tablets.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

The recommended dose is 20 milligrams once daily for 5 years.

Breast Cancer Prevention

The recommended dose is 20 milligrams once a day for up to 5 years.


Safety and efficacy in children have not been established.


Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Tamoxifen citrate, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Symptoms of Tamoxifen citrate overdose may include:
    Dizziness, overactive reflexes, tremor, unsteady gait

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