What are the Side Effects of Tamoxifen?

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Question: What are the side effects of tamoxifen, and what are the alternatives to this treatment?

Answer:Tamoxifen (brand name: Nolvadex) is a medicine that is very effective in preventing the recurrence of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.

But it does have side effects. The most common are menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low libido, mood swings, and nausea.

If you're at an age when you would soon enter natural menopause, tamoxifen can nudge you into menopause sooner.

If tamoxifen gives you uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, and your doctor advises you not to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), other effective treatments are available. Click here for detailed information on managing menopausal symptoms.

Tamoxifen may also cause non-cancerous changes in the uterus. In some women, it may increase the risk of blood clots or endometrial cancer (cancer in the lining of the uterus).

Remember that each woman's risk factors are different. When you discuss your medical history with your doctor, you may find that the benefits of tamoxifen far outweigh the risks. Read the Breastcancer.org section on hormonal therapy for more information about relative risks and benefits.

Alternatives to tamoxifen include:

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