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Is Tamoxifen A Chemo Drug

is tamoxifen a chemo drug

Why is this medicine prescribed?

Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body in men and women. It is used to treat early breast cancer in women who have already been treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. It is used to reduce the risk of developing a more serious type of breast cancer in women who have had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS; a type of breast cancer that does not spread outside of the milk duct where it forms) and who have been treated with surgery and radiation. It is used to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are at high risk for the disease due to their age, personal medical history, and family medical history.

Tamoxifen is in a class of medications known as antiestrogens. 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.

Are there other uses for this medicine?

Tamoxifen is also used sometimes to induce ovulation (egg production) in women who do not produce eggs but wish to become pregnant. Tamoxifen is also sometimes used to treat McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS; a condition that may cause bone disease, early sexual development, and dark colored spots on the skin in children). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

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.

If you are taking tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, you will probably take it for five years. If you are taking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer, your doctor will decide how long your treatment will last. Do not stop taking tamoxifen without talking to your doctor.

If you forget to take a dose of tamoxifen, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it, and take your next dose as usual. However, if it is almost time for your 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.

How do I take my oral chemo?

You should have clear instructions on how much and when to take your chemo. Sometimes chemo is given in rounds or cycles. This cuts down on the harm to healthy cells and allows the chemo to kill more cancer cells. Your doctor will talk to you about when you will need to take your chemo. Be sure to take it just the way your doctor or nurse has told you.

Make sure you know how to deal with your chemo drugs. Sometimes you need to wear gloves when touching the drugs. Some drugs have to be kept in the bottle or box they came in. Also be sure you know how to get rid of doses when you don’t need them anymore. Some might have to be taken back to the drug store to be thrown away safely.

Should I take a drug to help reduce my breast cancer risk?

Taking medicines to help lower the risk of getting a disease is called chemoprevention. The most commonly used medicines to lower breast cancer risk are tamoxifen and raloxifene. Other medicines called aromatase inhibitors (such as anastrozole and exemestane) might also be options.

The first step in deciding if you should take a drug to help lower your chances of getting breast cancer is to have a health care provider assess your breast cancer risk. (See below for names of tools that can be used to do this.)

For now, most experts say that your breast cancer risk should be higher than average for you to consider taking one of these drugs. If you do have a higher than average risk, you need to compare the benefit of possibly reducing your chance of getting breast cancer with the risk of side effects and other problems from taking one of these drugs.

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