Can tamoxifen cause memory problems?


Question from Nancy: Can tamoxifen cause memory problems?
Answers - Julie Gralow, M.D. To the best of my knowledge, we don't have any conclusive studies showing that tamoxifen has significant effects on the brain. Lots of times, people who are on tamoxifen previously had chemotherapy, so they may still be feeling some effects of the "chemo brain" that can continue for many months after tamoxifen is started.

We know that tamoxifen has anti-estrogenic effects on breast tissue. However, it also can have some estrogen-like properties on other tissues, like the bones and the uterus. We really aren't sure what it does in the brain. It may have favorable, estrogen-like effects on the brain in terms of memory and cognition, or it may have some minor anti-estrogenic effects. This is the subject of some interesting studies that are currently underway.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It's important to keep asking these great questions, because it's your questions that drive the research that should be done.

On Wednesday, January 15, 2003, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Treatment Side Effects. Julie Gralow, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about many of the short-term and long-term side effects of breast cancer treatment, and ways of minimizing them, so you can get on with your life and enjoy your day-to-day activities.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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