Nolvadex is an estrogen antagonist. It used to treat several illnesses. It’s a brand name for Tamoxifen.
What It Is Used For?
This drug has several usages, including add-on therapy, cancer treatment, and preventive measure. Let’s go into more details regarding every possible usage of this medication:
- Add-on therapy. That is what you call a treatment that is suggested after a successful surgery in patients with breast cancer, both male, and female. Estrogen receptor-positive are more responsive to this treatment, so the whole process is going to be more efficient when compared to estrogen receptor-negative cancer treatment. This drug also marginally lowers the risk of getting cancer in the other breast.
- Cancer treatment. This drug might be prescribed to treat advanced cancer, i.e. cancer that spreads from its original site to a different part of your body, in both males and females. This medication can also be used to treat women with intraductal carcinoma after they have undergone a surgery/radiotherapy. It marginally lowers the risk of infiltrating breast cancer.
- Preventive measure. This medication might be prescribed for patients with high risks of breast cancer in order to lower the probability of developing cancer.
This medication can also be used to treat cancer of the ovaries.
There’s current research indicating that Nolvadex treatment may be beneficial for patients with Riedel’s struma. The trials have been going on since 2003.
There’s also research showing that this drug may be effective in some patients with the manic-depressive disorder. It is especially effective when it comes to treating their manic episodes, all thanks to the blocking of PKC.
The final piece of information regarding potential future uses of this drug: there’s plenty of research showing that this medication is effective in treating patients suffering from McCune–Albright syndrome. It is a complex genetic disease that frequently gets overlooked because of its rarity. There have been many promising developments since 2007.
The history of this medication begins in the late 50s/early 60s. There were many pharma companies actively researching a brand-new class of estrogen antagonists. Their original intent was to create a morning-after pill. Tamoxifen did not get approval until the 80s, initially it was used as a kind of fertility treatment.
Even though the people working on this medication were well aware of the connection between estrogen and breast cancer, treating tumors was not on their priority list because contraceptives sold better. Still, after a few years, there was a ground-breaking publication regarding the very first trial – it showed that Nolvadex prescribed as an add-on therapy to chemo helped improve the survival rates in early stages of breast cancer. In later stages, it was only deemed effective in estrogen receptor-positive cancer patients. Nevertheless, the medical scientists saw that this medication had a huge potential and a relatively small list of unwanted responses, so there was a large number of trials conducted at the time.
It took some time, but since 1998, Nolvadex was recognized as one of the most effective ways of treating breast cancer in early stages.
How To Take Nolvadex
This drug is a pill, you take it by mouth. You must never crush, chew or split the pill, it was intended to be swallowed whole. Usually, the patients are required to have a specific schedule, taking this pill at approximately the same time with a tall glass of water. Your dosage depends on many factors, so we are going to cover that in more detail down below.
Before you commit to this treatment, you must talk to your MD and undergo a total medical examination. There are many precautions when it comes to this medication, so here’s an uncompleted list of them.
You should mention to your physician if you:
- Have high triacylglyceride;
- Have cataracts;
- Have diabetes;
- Are a smoker;
- Have hypercholesterolemia;
- Suffer from hypertension;
- Have underlying/previous issues with your liver and/or kidneys;
- Have ever had coagulation and have ever taken anticoagulants;
- Have impaired ability to walk;
- Have ever had a stroke.
The list doesn’t cover all the possible precautions, you must talk to your health specialist in regards to your previous medical history. You need to mention all the health-related issues you have encountered before.
Before you start taking this medication, you must talk to your physician, so they could figure out what dosage works best for you. For breast cancer patients, the usual beginner dose is twenty or forty milligrams. All the dosages above twenty milligrams a day should be split, as per your physician’s suggestions. According to some studies, there’s no concrete proof that doses above twenty milligrams are more effective.
For patients with intraductal carcinoma, the usual beginner dose is twenty milligrams taken for five years straight. For patients at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, the usual dosage beginner dosage is twenty milligrams a day, taken for five years straight.
Your physician might alter the dosage based on your body’s response to the treatment. Never alter/begin/stop any kind of treatment without consulting your MD. The information provided here is never a good alternative for medical evaluation. Always make sure you talk to your druggist or MD.
Although the unwanted adverse reactions are not as prevalent, you still have to be aware of the fact that they might happen. Some of the possible adverse reactions while taking this drug include:
- Vaginal bleeding;
- Simple endometrial hyperplasia;
- Intense vulva itching;
- Dyspeptic disorders;
- Hair loss;
- Uterine fibroid;
Here are the unwanted responses that are rarer than the ones mentioned above:
- Increased body temperature;
- Appetite loss;
- Hepatic secretory obstruction;
- Dryness/rash on skin;
- Rapid weight gain;
- Oppenheim disease;
- Loss of eyesight;
- Corneal clouding;
- Retrobulbar neuritis.
Symptoms specific to men:
- Loss of libido;
- Erectile dysfunction-like symptoms.
This list is not all-encompassing. We would like to remind you that you must consult your healthcare specialist in case you encounter any of the above-named secondary responses or something else out of the ordinary. Make sure you stay safe while undergoing this treatment.
You might run into the more intense adverse responses mentioned above. If that ever happens, there is a possibility you overdosed on Nolvadex. Your other symptoms may include: troubled breathing, arrhythmia, tremors, sluggish gait, fainting. If you suspect there’s an overdose happening, do not hesitate to contact your nearest healthcare center or simply call 911. An overdose call for urgent medical attention.
How to Increase This Drug’s Effectiveness
There are some ways you can both improve this treatment’s efficiency and avoid some of the unwanted secondary responses, these include:
- Never end your treatment unless your MD tells you to. The duration of your treatment may be as long as five full years.
- If you experience flushing, you should start wearing lighter clothing and avoid the heat. Staying in a cool environment may help you avoid these unwanted side-effects.
- In order to avoid nausea, you can take antinauseants as prescribed by your MD. You must also eat small and frequent meals.
- Avoid exposure to the sun.
- Always stay hydrated, maintain a good diet and get plenty of rest.
Nolvadex might interact with several other medications. Never alter/begin/stop any kind of treatment without consulting your health specialist or druggist. Here is an incomplete list of all the treatments that interact with this one:
- Two reversible aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole and letrozole) cannot be used together with this medication. This could lead to serious interactions and grave consequences.
- Anticoagulants, including Apixaban (Eliquis); Dabigatran (Pradaxa); Edoxaban (Savaysa); Rivaroxaban (Xarelto).
- Esterified estrogens and methyltestosterone tablets.
- Hormonal contraception, including pills (91-day, progestin, and phasics), the patch, vaginal ring, implant, and injections.
- Phenobarbitone or phenobarb.
- Rifamycins, including rifampin, rifapentine, and rifabutin.
- Hypericum perforatum.
There are many other pills that might affect the removal of this medication from your body, which, in turn, affects its impact and effectiveness. Some of the pills include Tagamet, several selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and citalopram), among many others.
Once again, we would like to remind you that this list is not exhaustive, and you must talk to your MD in regards to all the possible interactions.
- It is still unknown whether or not this drug crosses into breast milk, because of the risks, breastfeeding is not recommended while undergoing this treatment.
- This treatment is also not recommended during pregnancy. It may severely damage an unborn baby.
- If you happen to miss a dose, you must contact your physician. Never attempt to double the following dose, it could lead to some disastrous results.
- Approximately 65% of people undergoing this treatment do not experience any unwanted responses at all.
- There are some symptoms that occur in over 30% of patients, they include vaginal discharge, loss of libido and flushing.
- This medication must be stored in a dry, cool room. Never keep this medication in the bathroom.
- Trade names of Tamoxifen also include Genox and Tamoxifen.
- Its chemical formula is C26H29NO.
- This is the bestselling hormonal medication for the breast cancer, in 2001 its global sales were above $1,000 million.
Make no mistake about it, this medication was a literal life-saver for me, but there are both positive and negative points here. First, I gotta say that I have encountered some sever side-effects. My bones were hurting a lot, I had hot flashes every damn day. Honestly, this drug makes you gain weight, feel depressed and bloated…. Being moody and fat sucks, that’s what I’m saying here. And do you know what doesn’t suck? Kicking the cancer’s ass. I’m thankful for every day and I’m giving Nolvadex five stars.
At the tender age of 50, I was diagnosed with breast cancer which came as some surprise. After lumpectomy and radiation treatment, I started taking 10 milligrams of Nolvadex, daily. I have been on it for about 10 months, give or take – haven’t experience any unwanted secondary responses whatsoever. I feel awesome, I take it without/with food, doesn’t upset my stomach in the slightest. Anything that helps me get rid of this stupid cancer and live long enough to see my children grow up is going to get five stars from me.
It was a rough ride… I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After that, it was like a blur – they were blasting me with radiation, I did the chemo thing, the lumpectomy, the everything. After that was over with, I took Nolvadex every single day for over two years now. The hot flashes I had in the beginning were pretty darn annoying, but I got over it. Once I got over them, they kind of disappeared on their own. Now, I’m still going strong. 100% cancer-free and 110% thankful for this experience.
I have been taking Nolvadex for the last 11-ish months and I have actually had some serious side-effects, including dry mouth, nausea and flushing in the beginning. Somehow, someway my body adjusted/re-adjusted and I was doing fine. No side effects, no nothing. Most important of all, I can actually say that I’m now 100% cancer-free. I thought life was so unfair, I thought I would never see my son graduate from college. Do not wallow in self-pity. If I was able to do this, you also can do this. Do not lose hope.