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    Information about Tamoxifen

    Tamoxifen uses

    Tamoxifen is used in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

    How tamoxifen works

    Tamoxifen is a hormone-based medication. It works by binding to estrogen receptors and blocking the effects of estrogen (a natural female hormone) in the breast tissue. This slows down the growth and multiplication of breast cancer cells.

    Common side effects of tamoxifen

    Nausea, Skin rash, Hot flashes, Thinning of hair, Loss of libido, Swelling, Vaginal discharge
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Radhika Dua
    MDS, BDS
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Shilpa Garcha
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    22 Nov 2019 | 03:34 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Tamoxifen

    • Tamoxifen helps treat breast cancer.
    • It also reduces the risk of cancer coming back and of getting cancer in the other breast. 
    • Use a reliable barrier contraceptive method (such as condoms) to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medicine and for 2 months after you stop taking it.
    • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to conceive or breastfeeding.
    • Inform your doctor if your periods become irregular, especially if associated with heavier bleeding.
    • Do not stop taking the medicine without talking to your doctor first.

    Frequently asked questions for Tamoxifen


    Q. What is Tamoxifen and for what it is used for?

    Tamoxifen is a medicine, which works against estrogen, a female sex hormone. It is used in the treatment of estrogen dependent breast cancer in women. It may also be used in the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer in males.

    Q. How and in what dose should I use Tamoxifen?

    Take it as per the advice of your doctor. The number of doses you take each day and the duration depends on your medical problem. Take your tablet at about the same time every day to ensure consistent levels of medicine in your body. You can take it with or without food. Treatment with Tamoxifen may be long term and you may require to take it for several years.

    Q. What if I forget to take Tamoxifen?

    If you forget to take a dose of Tamoxifen, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near to your next dose, skip it and follow your usual dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for the forgotten one.

    Q. What if I stop taking Tamoxifen?

    Do not stop taking Tamoxifen, even if you start feeling well, unless your doctor tells you. Stopping it early may increase the risk of breast cancer coming back.

    Q. What are the common side effects of using Tamoxifen?

    The most common side effects associated with Tamoxifen include menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, vaginal irritation, loss of sex drive and mood changes. It may also cause fluid retention, vaginal discharge, indigestion, nausea, and changes in your periods. If any of these bother you, consult with your doctor.

    Content on this page was last updated on 22 November, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)