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WHAT IS TAMOXIFEN ?
Tamoxifen is a hormone therapy. This medication is classified as an "anti-estrogen." Tamoxifen blocks the actions of estrogen, a female hormone. Certain types of breast cancer require estrogen to grow. Tamoxifen is an antiestrogen. Antiestrogens bind to estrogen receptor site on cancer cells thus blocking estrogen from going into the cancer cell. This interferes with cell growth and eventually leads to cell death. The following are antiestrogen medications.
Tamoxifen may be given as adjuvant therapy (treatment after successful surgery) in women or men with lymph node negative or lymph node positive breast cancer. Cancers with positive estrogen and progesterone receptors are more likely to benefit from tamoxifen. Tamoxifen may be prescribed in metastatic (cancer that has spread) breast cancer in both women and men. Tamoxifen may be prescribed in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who have completed surgery and radiation therapy. Tamoxifen may be prescribed for women at high risk of breast cancer to reduce the incidence of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen may also be prescribed for treatment of ovarian cancer.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS:
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to tamoxifen: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tamoxifen can increase your risk of stroke or blood clots. Call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;
signs of a blood clot in the lung - chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood; or
signs of a blood clot in your leg - pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights; unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge;
changes in your menstrual periods; pain or pressure in your pelvic area; a new breast lump;
liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or high levels of calcium in your blood - vomiting, constipation, increased thirst or urination, muscle weakness, bone pain, confusion, lack of energy, or tired feeling.
Common tamoxifen side effects may include:
hot flashes; vaginal discharge; or weight loss.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
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