Tamoxifen (brand name-Nolvadex) is an FDA-approved treatment for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body in men and women and who have already been treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
Tamoxifen is in a class of medications known as anti-estrogens. It blocks the activity of estrogen (a female hormone) in the breast. This may stop the growth of some breast tumors that need estrogen to grow.
Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about tamoxifen.
Make sure you read the IMPORTANT WARNING at the end of this article.
How should I take tamoxifen (Nolvadex)?
Tamoxifen comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Tamoxifen is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. Take tamoxifen at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you do not understand. Take tamoxifen exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow tamoxifen tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. Swallow the tablets with water or any other nonalcoholic drink.
Do not stop taking tamoxifen without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of tamoxifen (Nolvadex)?
Common side effects
Tamoxifen may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood levels of cholesterol or any other disease, symptom, or treatment.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about the types of birth control that are right for you
While you are on tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
- Stop taking tamoxifen and call your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant during your treatment. Tamoxifen may harm the fetus.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You should not breastfeed during your treatment with tamoxifen.
I forgot a dose. What should I do?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
In case of an emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
How should I safely store and dispose of tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
Keep tamoxifen in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
You should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
¶This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
Last Revised – 06/24/2023, FDA-updated- 01/15/2018, SG
Tamoxifen may cause cancer of the uterus (womb), strokes, and blood clots in the lungs. These conditions may be serious or fatal. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a blood clot in the lungs or legs, a stroke, or a heart attack. Also tell your doctor if you smoke, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, if your ability to move around during your waking hours is limited, or if you are taking anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin).
If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after your treatment, call your doctor immediately: abnormal vaginal bleeding; irregular menstrual periods; changes in vaginal discharge, especially if the discharge becomes bloody, brown, or rusty; pain or pressure in the pelvis (the stomach area below the belly button); leg swelling or tenderness; chest pain; shortness of breath; coughing up blood; sudden weakness, tingling, or numbness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion; difficulty speaking or understanding; sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; sudden difficulty walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache.
Keep all appointments with your doctor. You will need to have gynecological examinations (examinations of the female organs) regularly to find early signs of cancer of the uterus.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with tamoxifen and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website or the manufacturer’s website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Get 24×7 support for tazemetostat (Nolvadex)
Don’t go through your cancer journey alone. Use Ankr to:
(1) find the best treatment for your cancer, and
(2) get advanced warning to cut side effects by upto 52%
Tell us how we can improve this post?