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Raloxifene is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis (a type of joint disease that causes stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement) in postmenopausal women. It is also used to prevent invasive breast cancer.

How it works

Raloxifene belongs to class of medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators. It acts by mimicking the effect of estrogen to enhance the density of the bone.

Common side effects

Joint pain, Hot flashes, Increased sweating, Influenza like symptoms, Insomnia, Muscle cramp, Swelling


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Expert advice

  • Inform your doctor if you have if you have any type of cancer, heart failure, kidney disease, high triglycerides or liver disease. 
  • Inform your doctor if you are on estrogen therapy.
  • Do not take calcium supplements unless advised by doctor. Taking calcium supplements more than recommended will not provide extra protection for your bones but may cause adverse side effects including kidney stones.
  • Stop using raloxifene immediately if you develop: lumps in the breast, signs of stroke (sudden numbness or weakness), severe headache, slurred speech, vision problems; chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood; or pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.
  • Avoid sitting still for long periods of time while you are taking raloxifene.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you observe bleeding / spotting from vagina during the treatment.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is raloxifene a bisphosphonate? 
No, Raloxifene is not a biophosphonate.
Q. Is raloxifene safe? 
It is safe if used for the dose and duration as recommended by your doctor.
Q. Is raloxifene a hormone/steroid? 
No, It’s not a hormone/steroid however at times it mimics activity of estrogen.
Q. Is raloxifene better than tamoxifen? 
It has been observed that tamoxifen is slightly more effective in prevention of breast cancer in post-menopausal women that raloxifene, however raloxifene also plays a role in treating or preventing osteoporosis  
Q. Does raloxifene cause weight gain/ hot flushes? 
Yes, Use of Raloxifene may cause weight gain or hot flushes.
Q. Does raloxifene cause hair loss? 
No, Raloxifene does not cause hair loss.
Q. Does raloxifene lower cholesterol? 
No. Raloxifene does not lower cholesterol.
Q. How does raloxifene work / treat in osteoporosis? 
It works by reducing the loss of bone tissue and acting on the bone cycle.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)